ISLAMABAD - Pakistani investigators have been quizzing two suspects after an
Islamic militant was killed by his own hand grenade in a brazen attack on
Islamabad international airport, according to officials.
The attack late Tuesday was the
fifth in less than two weeks in Pakistan, raising fears that Taliban militants
fighting Pakistani troops near the Afghan border are trying to embarrass
President Pervez Musharraf.
Pakistani security officials whisk away a suspect who
alledgely drove a suicide bomber into the Islamabad International Airport,
in Islamabad. [AFP]
The two suspects were in a car which drove the attacker to the airport car
park, where he exchanged gunfire with security forces after they stopped him at
a security checkpost, injuring three police. He then died in the blast.
"We are interrogating two people - one of them is a driver and the other one
was also said to be travelling in the same car," a senior security official told
Officials hoped they could provide leads to the group behind the attack amid
fears the militants are "desperate" to send a message to military ruler
Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao confirmed there were three men in the car but
gave no further details.
He however said the incident was no longer being considered as a suicide
attack because "when we searched the body we did not find any explosive belt on
"The circumstantial evidence does not suggest that it was a suicide attack.
He might have come for a hit and run attack," Brigadier Javed Cheema, head of
the interior ministry's national crisis management cell, told AFP.
"When police tried to check the car he pulled a mask on his face and started
firing. He ran towards the car park and threw a grenade which did not explode.
Three bullets hit him in the chest and one grenade was found on his body."
The bearded bomber's bloodstained body, with the legs mangled by the blast,
was shown to journalists after the explosion. Several cars were also damaged in
the blast and the exchange of fire.
The airport was briefly closed and several flights were delayed or diverted.
Cheema said security had been further beefed up at other airports.
Musharraf flew in to nearby Chaklala Airbase hours after the attack following
a trip to Iran and Turkey.
The president angered Islamic hardliners by abandoning Pakistan's support for
the Taliban regime after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and
launching a crackdown on militants.
He has escaped two assassination attempts blamed on Al-Qaeda in 2003.
This is a message to the government that they can strike at the most
sensitive areas," a top intelligence official told AFP on condition of