Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Monday, 2 June 2008 17:03 UK

Bomb hits Pakistan Danish embassy

Scene of blast
The blast damaged the embassy and nearby vehicles

At least six people have been killed and 30 injured in a car bomb attack near the Danish embassy in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.

An embassy worker was among the dead and three were hurt but no Danish citizens were killed or injured.

Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the act "cowardly" and said it would not change Danish policies.

It was not clear who carried out the attack, as Pakistan's main militant group recently declared a ceasefire.

Pakistan's top Taleban warlord Baitullah Mehsud is in peace talks with the authorities in an attempt to end fighting in the country's north-west.

Other militant factions - accused of being involved in similar attacks in the past - have also recently engaged in talks with the government and the number of bombings in the country has reduced since the induction of a new government in March.

It was like I was stuck between two speeding cars or between two moving trains - my door which was half-open slammed shut, everything moved
Asim Mukhtar, witness

Some Danish embassies around the world have been threatened since a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad was reprinted in Danish newspapers in February.

The cartoons, deemed offensive to Islam, led to worldwide protests when they were first printed in September 2005.

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says suspicion for the attack has fallen on al-Qaeda, as the network's number two Ayman al-Zawahri denounced the cartoons in a recent video.

Denmark also has 700 troops fighting the Taleban in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Islamabad map

Mr Rasmussen said the bombing was an "attack against Denmark".

He added: "Denmark will not alter its [foreign] policy because of a terror attack."

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said: "The president, the prime minister, as well as the foreign minister, have all very strongly condemned this terrorist attack... and our hearts go out to the families of the victims."

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Pakistan says that while the embassy attack may have an obvious motive - the cartoons - the Danish embassy was an easy target because it is located in a residential area outside of the high-security diplomatic enclave.

Our correspondent says that the attack has added to the sense of insecurity among Islamabad residents, who were not exposed to militant attacks until last year, when a violent siege of the city's red mosque took place.

The last attack in the city took place on 15 March when an Italian restaurant was targeted, killing a Turkish woman and injuring 10 other foreigners.

There are a number of militant groups with bases in Pakistan which are linked to insurgencies in Afghanistan and in Indian-administered-Kashmir - our correspondent says - and many have a history of carrying out sectarian attacks directed at Western missions and diplomats.

'Immense pressure'

Most foreign staff have been moved out of the Danish embassy since the cartoon row erupted.


The scene following the blast near the Danish embassy

Security has now been further tightened at all government and other key buildings in the city.

Denmark advised its citizens against all travel to Pakistan, and Norway closed its embassy following the blast.

Our correspondent says it is alarming for many that the bomber got so close to the Danish embassy.

The attacker drove onto a small patch of road between the embassy and an office building at around midday local time (0600 GMT).

The car's engine was found a few metres from the crater.

A Pakistani cleaner was killed, a handyman seriously injured and two office workers also hurt, Mr Moeller said. All the other casualties are thought to be outside the embassy.

Part of the embassy wall was damaged, as was a building housing offices of a UN-funded non-governmental organisation.

Asim Mukhtar, who works near the site of the blast, told the BBC that the air pressure there was "immense".

"It was like I was stuck between two speeding cars or between two moving trains. My door which was half-open slammed shut. Everything moved," he said.

"We ran to the roof and saw some black smoke rising. After one minute we heard the sounds of ambulances."

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