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Explosion rocks Pakistan restaurant; Turkish woman killed, Americans wounded
Pakistan Explosion Heal
Pakistani security officials arrive to examine the site of a bomb explosion in Islamabad, Pakistan Saturday, March 15, 2008. A bomb killed two people and wounded nine others Saturday at an Italian restaurant popular with foreigners in Pakistan's capital, police said. - photo by Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A bomb exploded in the back garden of an Italian restaurant crowded with foreigners in Pakistan's capital on Saturday, killing a Turkish woman and wounding 11 others including five Americans.

Personnel from the U.S. and British embassies were among the wounded after what appeared to be the first attack targeting foreigners in a recent wave of violence in Pakistan.

A list of victims was posted in the reception area at Islamabad's Poly Clinic. Five U.S. citizens were listed as undergoing surgery. One Japanese citizen, one Canadian, one Briton and three Pakistanis also were wounded. Foreigners crowded around the list; some burst into tears.

Zahid Janjua, a student at the city's International Islamic University, was dining nearby at another restaurant and helped bring victims to waiting ambulances, staining his clothes with their blood.

"It was chaos. Broken tables and chairs lay scattered across the lawn. There were eight or nine people lying injured and crying for help," he said.

Officials said the bomb was planted in the garden or thrown over a nearby wall of the Luna Caprese restaurant, a popular socializing spot for expatriates in Islamabad.

Pakistani Interior Secretary Kamal Shah confirmed the Turkish woman's death. A police officer at the scene initially told reporters that two people had died, but Shah and the city police chief later said there was only one fatality.

The blast rang out across downtown Islamabad around 8:45 p.m. local time. Fire engines and police raced to the scene, which was littered with blood and debris. A man's shoe lay in a pile of rubble.

Local television footage showed a wounded man, looking dazed, rushing past the camera with blood streaming from his forehead.

After inspecting the destruction, city police chief Shahid Nadeem Baloch told reporters that 11 people were wounded: eight foreigners and three Pakistanis — a couple dining and a waiter. He gave no further details of their identities.

"There is a crater in the ground which suggests that it was a planted bomb, but we need to investigate further," Baloch said.

Shah said a bomb could have been thrown over the wall.

"There were U.S. Embassy personnel among the injured. They are receiving medical treatment and their families are being notified," embassy spokeswoman Kay Mayfield said. She was unable to confirm the number of personnel wounded and their nationalities.

The British Foreign Office reported that a staff member from the British High Commission had been "lightly injured" in the blast. The man was being treated in a hospital, a spokesman for the foreign office said, speaking anonymously in line with department policy.

The restaurant is frequented by foreigners and was crowded with a group of Americans and other foreign nationals Saturday when the blast went off, said restaurant employee Haji Mal, who was wounded in the shoulder.

"I was working in the kitchen when the blast took place on the lawn. Something hit me on the shoulder," Mal said.

The bomb struck two days before Pakistan's new parliament was set to convene Monday. On Tuesday, two suicide bombings killed 24 people and wounded more than 200 in the eastern city of Lahore.

With such attacks on the rise, a growing number of Pakistanis are questioning U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf's approach to countering al-Qaida and the Taliban. Musharraf's opponents say punitive military action has only fueled the violence.

The winning parties in last month's parliamentary elections have pledged to form a new counterterrorism strategy when they form a new coalition government next week.


Associated Press writers Lauren Frayer, Munir Ahmad and Stephen Graham contributed to this report from Islamabad, and AP Writer Raphael G. Satter contributed from London.

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