Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Suicide Attack in Pakistan

This is huge and very sad:

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died at 6:16PM PST (8:16AM New York) today after suffering fatal wounds from an assassination attempt while leaving Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi.

Bhutto, after completing her address at the party rally and entering a bomb and bulletproof vehicle, reportedly opened the vehicle’s sunroof and shook hands with her supporters through it, exposing the top half of her body. An assassin, perhaps briefly preceded by a suicide blast nearby, fired three to five shots at her; one struck Ms. Bhutto in the head and the other in her neck. The assassination then blew himself up.

More from the Washington Post:

Bhutto's death is a devastating development, coming 12 days before Pakistanis are set to vote in national parliamentary elections already marked by enormous political turmoil. President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November -- a move which he said was to combat terrorism, but which was widely perceived as an effort to stave off legal challenges to his authority. U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al-Qaeda increasingly is focusing its efforts in Pakistan.

Some think this assassination could push Pakistan into civil war:

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto threatens to plunge a nuclear armed Pakistan into civil war, opposition groups warned today.

The former prime minister was killed by a suicide bomber as she left a public rally in the city of Rawalpindi today.

Commentators said the killing would make the postponement of the upcoming elections almost certain and could spark further unrest.

Riaz Malik, of the opposition Pakistan Movement for Justice party (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf), warned: "The impact will be that Pakistan is in more turmoil - it will be the start of civil war in Pakistan.

"There is a very real danger of civil war in Pakistan."

Pajamas Media and Gateway Pundit both have roundups. Bob Krumm has more.

Al-Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the attack.

The Wall Street Journal is reprinting an interview they had with Bhuto in August.

More coverage in the New York Times.

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