Pakistan restaurant attack targets Westerners
The Islamabad attack injured four FBI agents and could signal a shift in tactics.
Marking an escalation in their violent campaign, militants in Pakistan bombed a restaurant popular with Westerners in Islamabad on Saturday night, killing a Turkish woman and wounding five Americans, four of whom were US Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel.Skip to next paragraph
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Pakistan has recently been engulfed by a wave of bombings by suspected militants – roughly one bombing every four days this year, according to a calculation by Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, one of Pakistan's leading English language dailies. This was the first attack in six years that appeared to deliberately target Westerners.
On Sunday, in what could have been a direct response, the US military reportedly fired an unmanned US Predator drone fired on targets in South Waziristan, a suspected militant enclave from where Pakistan's Taliban are believed to plan their attacks.
Luna Caprese, an Italian restaurant located across the street from a popular shopping center in the capital, was popular with Western embassy officials, journalists, and nongovernmental workers because of its Western food and the availability of alcohol, reports Dawn.
The bomb went off around 8:40 p.m. when a large number of foreigners were having their evening meal in the restaurant's backyard garden…
The owner of the restaurant had always maintained a low profile, and instead of having heavily armed guards, the outer gate was manned by untrained private guards…
Several people who were present in the super market described the explosion as deafening. One of them said the impact of the blast threw him on the ground, although he was standing on the pavement across the road.
It is unclear if the FBI agents – none of whom were critically wounded – were the target of the weekend's attack. ABC reports that many doubt the attack targeted the US agents.
Multiple sources said that the attack was under investigation to see whether it was based on the terrorists having learned in advance of the agents' presence.
In Washington, meanwhile, officials downplayed the possibility that the attack specifically targeted the agents based on advance intelligence.
They cited the relatively small size of the attack – one in which injuries to the agents were relatively minor – as part of their rationale. Also the explosive does not appear to have been tossed directly at the agents' table.