Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Sunday, 21 September 2008 15:41 UK

Six Britons hurt in hotel blast

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani visiting injured in hospital
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani visited the injured in hospital

Six UK nationals, including one child, were injured in the bomb attack on the Marriott hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, the Foreign Office has said.

Two remain in hospital, while the four who suffered "superficial injuries" have been discharged, it said.

Pakistan authorities now say 53 people died and 266 were wounded after the bomber blew up a truck outside the hotel, popular with foreign residents.

British Airways has suspended flights to Pakistan.

A BA spokeswoman said flights to Islamabad on Sunday and Tuesday have been cancelled, while services scheduled for later in the week were still under review.

Professional response

All the UK casualties are said to be "making good progress", according to Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Three of the UK injured are members of staff from the British High Commission.

The Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that a local member of staff at the High Commission was also injured.

The spokesman said that Foreign Secretary David Miliband had spoken to the High Commissioner in Islamabad to pass on his support "at this difficult time" and has praised his staff for their professional response.

I think we are succeeding in rooting out many of the al-Qaeda terrorists...and foiling many of the plots have been planned
Prime Minister Gordon Brown

"My best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to those injured in this horrendous attack: not only to the High Commission staff who have been injured while serving the UK overseas, but to all those affected by the atrocity," said Mr Miliband.

'Making good progress'

Prime Minster Gordon Brown condemned the attack as "an atrocious and terrible terrorist incident" which was "inexcusable".

Speaking in Manchester, where he is attending the Labour Party's annual conference, he said he had been following the progress and was "pleased to say that all of them have been treated and all of them [were] making good progress".

Mr Brown said his sympathies were with the people of Pakistan.

Britain was "standing with the Pakistani people" and "doing everything to help them" but the two countries must "step up co-operation" and work together to root out the causes of terrorism, he said.

"The violence is completely unacceptable. Terrorism has got to be rooted out, those violent extremists who are trying to destroy life for the purposes of getting propaganda must be told once and for all that the whole world is united against what they are doing."

Confident

Asked if he thought that Al-Qaeda was launching a new campaign of terror, he said Al-Qaeda had always specialised in incidents to gain them the maximum of publicity.

But he said he was confident that the battle against al-Qaeda-inspired terror was being won.

"I think we are succeeding in rooting out many of the al-Qaeda terrorists, whether they are in Pakistan or they are out of Pakistan and foiling many of the plots have been planned," he said.

Mr Brown added that it was important to "always be vigilant".

Britain would also work with all of its international partners and do everything it could to protect British holidaymakers and British staff in embassies and consulates, he said.

The safety of BA staff and aircraft were of "paramount importance", a BA spokeswoman said.



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