Monday, March 17, 2008

More on the Islamabad Blast

American Team A Possible Target In Saturday Attack

By Candace Rondeaux and Allan Lengel
Washington Post Foreign Service

ISLAMABAD — Four FBI agents were among 12 people wounded in a weekend bomb blast at a popular Italian restaurant in Pakistan’s capital, U.S. law enforcement officials said Sunday.

The attack Saturday occurred on the garden patio of Luna Caprese, a restaurant popular with foreigners in a busy, upscale section of Islamabad. The explosion killed a Turkish woman and injured several other people, including another American.

The four FBI agents who were wounded included a legal attache, an assistant legal attache and an agency supervisor, according to one law enforcement official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the record. The job title of the fourth agent could not be determined. None of the injuries was life-threatening, the official said, although at least one agent was sent to London to undergo reconstructive surgery.

News of the four wounded FBI agents was first reported by CNN.

The cause of the blast at the restaurant remains under investigation. But sources in Pakistan familiar with the inquiry said a seven-member FBI team tasked with investigating bombings in the city of Lahore was in Islamabad at the time of the attack on Luna Caprese. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing, said the four agents might have been specifically targeted.

The U.S.-led task force was called in to assist with an investigation into two coordinated bombings Tuesday in Lahore. At least 28 people were killed and more than 170 injured in an attack at the headquarters of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency. Minutes after that blast, suicide bombers struck a home in a residential area, killing three people.

The bombing at the Federal Investigation Agency was particularly devastating and caused portions of the agency’s multi-story building to collapse. The agency is responsible for cases involving illegal immigration and smuggling, but is also the base for an FBI-trained counterterrorism unit.

The FBI has collaborated with its Pakistani counterpart on several occasions in recent years. In 2006, officials with the Pakistani agency announced plans for the FBI to train 100 Pakistani recruits in counterterrorism tactics. In 2002, the FBI assisted Pakistani authorities with the investigation of a suicide bombing at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi that killed 12 people and injured 50.


DS said...

Just a reality of life in the Foreign Service that is not quite understood by the general public - even a harmless trip for lunch or dinner could cost us life or limb


P.S. I hope I did not post this twice - but it did not show up online so I am reposting.

Digger said...

I completely agree. I think that was something that was lost in all the uproar over the possibility that we could go to directed assignments to Iraq...whether or not we serve in Iraq (and I imagine we all will at some point)we all already do put our lives on the line for our country.