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Eight killed in Danish embassy blast

world Updated: Jun 02, 2008 22:45 IST
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Eight people were killed and about 25 seriously wounded when a high-intensity car bomb exploded outside the Danish embassy in Islamabad on Monday afternoon.

Thirty vehicles and several neighbouring buildings were damaged. The blast also shattered windowpanes of India House, residence of the Indian envoy. However, no one was hurt. Police sealed off the area immediately after the explosion.

Several trees near the scene were also set ablaze by the explosion.

"I was in my room and there was a huge blast and the windows smashed. I was hit by a sharp object and am bleeding from my leg," said Mohammad Dilshad, who lives near the embassy.

Interior secretary Kamal Shah later told the media that it was a car bomb. "I do not rule out a suicide attack," he added.

A six-feet crater was created by the impact of the explosion. It is not clear where the blast actually occurred. Some eyewitnesses say the blast occurred in a car that was parked within the embassy grounds.

The embassies of Denmark and Norway were under threat following the publication of cartoons that many Muslims found offensive. Interior ministry officials said security was tight around these embassies but the attack took place on a public road where access could not be restricted. The embassy of Norway announced that it was shutting its operations in Islamabad for the time being.

This is the first high-profile attack in Islamabad after the signing of a truce between the Pakistan government and militant organisations last month.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar said he had "no knowledge" about the blast. "I have no information.... I cannot say who is responsible for this," he said from an unknown location.

Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moeller called an emergency ministerial meeting following the attack. He said: "It’s terrible that terrorists commit such acts."

In April, Denmark moved embassy staff in Algeria and Afghanistan to secret locations due to threats linked to the Mohammed cartoons row.