Update as of 1000 Eastern Time:
Bottom Line Up Front:
From CNN (Pakistan):
A small explosion erupted inside a truck before the larger, deadly explosion that ripped through the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital, according to security video released Sunday by Pakistani authorities.
The Saturday suicide truck bombing killed at least 57 people, including a Czech diplomat, and wounded between 150 and 230 others, police Superintendent Sheikh Zubair said.
The Pakistani Interior Ministry showed the video at a news conference. Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that based on the quantity of explosives inside the truck, "this is the biggest attack, volume-wise," in seven years.
No arrests have been made in connection with the attack, Malik said.
In the video, a large truck crashes into a security gate, sending one security officer scurrying for safety. As security guards approach the truck, the top of the vehicle explodes and the security guards flee.
A small cloud of smoke appears above the truck. Minutes later, it's engulfed in flames. One of the security guards tries to put out the fire with a hand-held fire extinguisher, to no avail. The guards then walk away, and the camera freezes on the burning truck.
From NY Times (Pakistan):
A huge truck bomb exploded at the entrance to the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday evening, killing at least 53 people and wounding at least 266, according to the acting interior minister.
The blast, one of the worst acts of terrorism in Pakistan’s history, went off just a few hundred yards from the prime minister’s house, where all the leaders of government were dining after the president’s address to Parliament.
The toll was expected to grow because of reports that people had been trapped inside the six-story hotel, which has been a favorite meeting spot of both foreigners and well-connected Pakistanis in the heart of the capital. The building was quickly engulfed in flames and continued to burn for hours Saturday night.
Among the dead were the Czech ambassador, two American citizens and a Vietnamese woman. Some 11 other foreigners were injured. Rescuers brought at least five more bodies out of the burnt hotel on Sunday.
The bomb left a vast crater, 40 feet wide and 25 feet deep, at the security barrier to the hotel. Witnesses said security guards were buried under a mound of rubble. Cars across the street from the hotel were mangled, and trees on the street were charred and stripped of their branches. The blast shattered windows in buildings hundreds of yards away.
Witnesses said they dragged dozens of bodies from the lobby of the hotel and an adjacent parking lot, including those of a number of foreigners. Sean McCormack, a spokesman for the State Department, issued a statement saying at least one American citizen was killed and several others were injured.
From Fox News (Iran):
Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran's military will "break the hand" of any aggressor that target his country's nuclear facilities.
Addressing a military parade broadcast live on state television, he said: "If anyone allows himself to commit even a tiny offense against Iran's legitimate interests, borders and sacred land, our armed forces will break his hand before he pulls the trigger."
The phrase "legitimate interests" is Iranian parlance for the country's nuclear program, which the West says is a cover for a nuclear weapon program. Iran, which denies the charge, already is under three sets of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.
Washington and its Western allies are pushing for quick passage of a fourth set of sanctions to underline the international community's resolve.
But Ahmadinejad said Sunday that sanctions only help Iran achieve self-sufficiency.
"Those who once imposed sanctions, today should open their eyes and see our nation's technical achievements."
Both the United States and its ally Israel say they support a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran but cannot rule out the military option.
From Fox News (Russia):
President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that Russia would not yield to Western pressure or be pushed into isolation over the war in Georgia.
Medvedev's comments appeared to be a response to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who warned Russia on Thursday that its policies have put it on a path to isolation and irrelevance.
Medvedev dismissed a claim that Russia was sliding back to authoritarianism.
"They are, in fact, pushing us onto the development track that is based not on normal and civilized cooperation with other countries, but on autonomous development behind thick walls and an 'iron curtain,"' Medvedev said at a meeting with non-governmental organizations. "This is not our track, and it makes no sense to return to the past."
In addition, he vowed that Russia would set its own course.
"No new outside factors, let alone outside pressure on Russia, will change our strategic course," Medvedev said.
"We will continuously strengthen our national security, modernize the military and increase our defense capability to a sufficient level," he said. "And we will determine what level is sufficient proceeding from the current situation; it can't be measured once and for all."
More to follow:
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