Friday, 28 December 2007

Pakistan's Bhutto dead in gun, bomb attackPakistan's Bhutto dead in gun, bomb attack

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

A Reuters witness at the scene said he heard two shots moments before the blast.

"As party leaders, including Bhutto, started coming out a man tried to go close to them and then he fired some shots and blew himself up," said Yaseen, a police officer, at the scene.

Police said about 15 people had been killed in the blast.

Earlier, party officials said Bhutto was safe.

A Reuters witness said he saw about eight bodies on a road as well as a mutilated human head.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said initial reports suggested it was a suicide bombing and more than 10 people had been killed.

A suicide bomber killed nearly 150 people in an attack on Bhutto on October 18 as she paraded through the southern city of Karachi after returning home from eight years in self-imposed exile.

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