Peshawar: 2008 death toll reaches 781 in 354 blasts
PESHAWAR: Swat tops the list of towns witnessing the most number of suicide attacks, followed by the twin cities — Islamabad and Rawalpindi — during the year 2008. Six suicide bombers have struck various parts of Swat district during the first nine months of the current year. Five suicide bombers detonated themselves in the twin cities, three of them struck Islamabad, while the other two blew themselves up in Rawalpindi. Around 781 people have been killed in 354 blasts that ripped through different parts of the country till September 2008. Out of these, 33 were suicide attacks. Two of the suicide bombings occurred in Peshawar while four happened in the two Waziristan agencies.
Suicide attacks in the federal capital were the worst as far as the fatalities and the intensity are concerned. Around 81 persons were killed and 350 others wounded in these blasts. Eighteen others were killed in two Rawalpindi suicide blasts that also left over 35 injured.
The suicide blast, outside the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was of the highest intensity so far in the country. Around 600 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast that destroyed the huge building of the five-star hotel as well as the other nearby buildings. At least 53 people, including foreigners, were killed and over 266 others injured in the incident.
Another suicide bombing occurred on June 1 in the federal capital when a bomber attacked the Danish Embassy in Islamabad, killing eight persons and injuring 30 others. The third blast in the city wreaked havoc in July where 20 people, including 15 policemen, were killed and 40 wounded.
Lt-Gen Mushtaq Baig was among the eight victims of the Rawalpindi suicide blast that took place on February 24, while 10 others were killed in the district in another suicide hit on February 3.
In Swat district, six suicide attacks killed a total of 52 people, 40 of whom died in a single incident when a bomber blew himself up amid the funeral prayers of DSP Javed Iqbal on February 28.
At least 39 people were killed on September 6 when a suicide bomber detonated explosives laden in his car near Zangali checkpost in Peshawar suburbs. Twelve others were killed in the first suicide blast of 2008 in Peshawar when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Imambargah in Moharram.