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20 Dead in Islamabad Hotel Blast
A suspected car bomb caused a huge explosion outside the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital on Saturday and the Dawn television station said at least 17 people had been killed.
Note: CNN was reporting at least 20 dead; the number continues to climb.
A reporter at the scene told CNN that as many as 200 people were feared to be inside the building.
Television images showed flames and smoke pouring out of the hotel and bodies being carried away.
"The explosion happened as a car reached the barricade outside the hotel," a senior police official said, adding that it appeared to have been a suicide attack.
A Reuters witness said he could see fires in at least two places in the hotel and at least 20 cars parked on the street outside had been destroyed.
Television pictures later showed flames spreading to other parts of the 290-room hotel, located close to the city centre and very popular with tourists.
Witnesses reported that ceilings in the hotel lobby and dining area had collapsed.
The attack came soon after Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, had made his first address to a joint session of parliament, pledging that Pakistan would not tolerate any infringement of its territory in the name of the fight against militants.
Zardari is close to the United States and had earlier promised to maintain nuclear-armed Pakistan's commitment to the U.S.-led "war on terrorism", even though it is deeply unpopular.