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Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Saturday, 20 September 2008 18:18 UK

Eyewitnesses: Pakistan blast

Rescue workers
Volunteers help with rescue efforts at the Marriott hotel in Islamabad

A massive explosion has devastated the Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, killing many people.

Officials say they believe a suicide bomber set off a car bomb near the hotel.

Islamabad residents told the BBC what they saw and felt.

DIROME ANTHONY

I was driving towards the hotel for my dinner. And I was two seconds away from the blast. It was a huge explosion and the sky lit up like daylight. I saw one of the big trees flying over my car. When I opened my car door I saw a human hand right next to my car door. Thank God I'm safe. I feel sorry for those who lost their life.

HASSAN KHALID

I work in the Evacuee Trust building adjacent to the Marriott Hotel. I was in the office at that time. The force of the blast threw me off the seat, all windows in the building were broken and for a while it seemed as if an air strike had happened. Moving out I saw the Marriott building in flames and then I remember vaguely being shoved in a car by my security team and being rushed to the hospital. Luckily all of us present in the office at that time are safe.

MEHREEN KHALID

I live in the vicinity of the Marriott Hotel - at the time of the explosion, I, like the majority of the population, had just opened the fast observed during Ramadan. What happened next was one of the most strange experiences I've ever undergone - the rooms, walls, floor shook, as if a huge tremor was going through. The feeling was strangely reminiscent of the devastating earthquake we faced in October 2005. This was followed by a huge sound of a blast. It is completely tragic - I do hope Pakistan can stop this internal turmoil and the citizens can enjoy some peace and security.

BO

The blast is tremendous. We live over 2 kilometres away from the hotel and it still shook our windows. It sounded as if thunder had exploded right on top of our house. Now after an hour, smoke is filling the air and we can smell the burning debris from our porch. Just hope for the best.

ABDULLAH INAYAT

It was a huge and massive blast. My office is 15 kilometres away from the Marriott Hotel and we were having dinner and suddenly we heard a horrible noise. It was like an earthquake.

SAIRA RASHEED

I was a few sectors away from the Marriott. Nearly 22 kilometres away. The shocking part is that the blast was so intense that it shook the entire city and all of us came running out of the house thinking that it was just a few metres away.



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