Saturday Night in Islamabad... the "Marriott Hotel" ( "Rick's Place" from Casablanca; same scenario) ...
... a truck stops at the barrier in front of the Marriott Hotel. The guards won't let the truck past the barrier.
A doctor who had an emergency call was standing behind the truck and wanted the truck removed so he could get to his patient. Sniffer dogs detect something wrong and guards shout: "RUN!"
The truck driver tries to ram the barrier. A small explosion occurs inside the truck cab. Flames shoot from the truck. Guards move in to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher. No luck.
Then, a final explosion as 600 kg of RDX & TNT along with aluminum powder ignites the ill-fated Marriott and unleashes "hell".
There was more than one man in the truck bomb
The Newly elected President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari had just addressed a joint session of Parliament (only a few hours earlier) in which he promised to root out terrorism.
So far, 60 dead and 257 taken to hospitals.
There are some reports that one of the bombers leapt from the truck and yelled that the bomb would go off in 4 minutes.
The Czech ambassador (Ivo Zdarek) was killed in the bombing as were two Americans and a Lithuanian. Many of the dead were drivers of Limos, security and hotel staff.
Al Qaeda is presumed to be behind the attacks.
The Restaurants were full as Muslim patrons were breaking their daily Ramadan Fast. The Muslim fasts 14 hours during the day. Then, at Sunset; the fast is broken with a feast ( known as Iftar) and celebrated. On this particular day, the fast ended at approximately 7:30 PM. (Actual Sunset was at 7:08 PM).
During this particular Iftar, the Prime Minister was hosting his own party with lots of high profile diplomats and dignitaries. At the time of the attack, President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani were attending a dinner at the premier's official residence several blocks away.
The Official Marriott News Release gives the following:
"Saturday, September 20, 2008, at approximately 7:00 PM local time, a truck packed with explosives was detonated outside the Islamabad Marriott in Pakistan. The vehicle was stopped by hotel security and a fortified barrier at the entrance to the property."
"The blast caused extensive damage to the front of the hotel and started a fire."
"New reports indicate numerous people were killed and injured in the bombing, including the deaths of several hotel security personnel who stopped the truck."
WHAT ABOUT THE TIME?
The official time according to Marriott is as stated in their news release: 7:00 PM local time
The police at the scene say the blast occurred "about" 7:30 PM local time, after the breaking of the Ramadan Fast.
The Hotel is near a group of buildings containing the Parliament building, the prime minister's house , the supreme court and the presidency. The bomber tried to gain entry to this "compound" first ... but failed.
Interior Minister Malik had received a threat against the Parliament 2 days ago and said security measures had been taken: "There was heavy security in the city".
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