Blast hits U.S. Consulate in Karachi
KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- A suicide car bomber is believed responsible for an explosion outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan that has killed at least eight people and injured at least 40 others.
Police say the bomber drove an explosives-laden car into a guard post near the heavily guarded consular building at around 11:00 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) on Friday.
At least two of the victims from the large explosion were security guards, police said. All of the dead were Pakistani, according to initial reports.
Eyewitnesses described the explosion as very powerful. The bomb destroyed a boundary wall and several nearby vehicles. The blast left a large crater and shattered the windows of the consulate and surrounding buildings.
The blast comes shortly after a visit to South Asia by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who left Pakistan on Thursday. Rumsfeld was the latest diplomat to head to the region to try and bring back India and Pakistan from the brink of war. (Rumsfeld's visit.)
There has been no claim of responsibility as yet but suspicion is already falling on Islamic militants with several groups present in and around Karachi.
The area surrounding the consulate is heavily guarded and Pakistani authorities recently reopened the road in front of the building, which had been closed for security reasons.
Pakistan's neighbor and nuclear rival India has condemned the Karachi bombing, saying it was grieved by the "terrorist activity." (More details.)
Last month, a car bomb attack outside the Sheraton hotel in Karachi killed 11 French nationals and three Pakistanis.
Pakistani police have said they suspect that that bombing was carried out by militants opposed to Pakistan's decision to ally itself with the U.S.-led war on terror.
In March, a grenade attack on a church near the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad left five people dead including two Americans -- the wife and daughter of a U.S. diplomat.
Bomb blasts are not unusual in Karachi, which is torn by religious and political strife.
Recently, a series of bomb blasts injured a dozen people following the nationwide referendum granting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf another five years in power.
Karachi is also where Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and later killed earlier this year.
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