British worker 'stable' after Pakistan bomb blast

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The Independent Online

A British aid worker injured in last night's explosion in Pakistan was moved to a hospital in the capital Islamabad under tight security today.

Gordon Brown, believed to be in his mid-40s, was reportedly stable after "bleeding profusely" following the blast at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar.

Doctors at the city's Lady Reading Hospital treated him in the intensive care unit until 2.30am local time.

The doctor who treated Mr Brown at the Peshawar hospital told the Press Association: "He was bleeding profusely when he was brought to the hospital. The bleeding had stopped after treatment and he was stable. His friends decided to take him to Islamabad."

He was later moved to a local hospital in Islamabad where it is understood doctors believe his arm may have to be amputated.

UN officials are planning to fly him to either the US or the UK shortly.

At least 11 people have been killed in the suicide bomb attack on the luxury hotel, but no one has, as yet, claimed responsibility.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon today condemned the blast as a "heinous terrorist attack".

At least 65 people were injured when a huge bomb exploded at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar yesterday.

The Foreign Office said the Briton was receiving hospital treatment.

A spokesman said: "We can confirm that one British man has been injured. He is in hospital.

"We are offering consular assistance."

The spokesman added: "The UK condemns unreservedly all such acts of indiscriminate terrorism."

Gunmen stormed into the Pearl Continental Hotel in the north-western city just before "a big bomb went off", a spokesman for police in Pakistan said.

Pakistani officials said suicide attackers in a truck launched the assault, firing guns as they stormed past guards and then setting off a huge blast.

Witnesses described three men riding in a truck approaching the main gate of the hotel and opening fire at security guards.

Local television showed a scene of pandemonium outside the hotel and part of the building reduced to concrete rubble and twisted steel.

Several foreigners were seen walking out of the hotel with injuries.

Amjad Jamal, spokesman for the World Food Programme in Pakistan, said more than 25 UN workers were staying at the hotel when the attack occurred. He said all seven WFP workers were safe, but he could not speak for other UN agencies.

The Pearl Continental, affectionately called the "PC" by Pakistanis, is set far back from the main road, overlooking a golf course and a historic fort.

It is a favourite place for foreigners and elite Pakistanis to stay and socialise, making it a high-profile target for militants.

Parking in front of the building is heavily restricted and, to get to the front doors of the building, a car has to undergo security checks and travel around concrete and metal barriers.

The blast is the latest in a string of attacks in Pakistani cities in recent weeks that officials say are revenge for a military offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility.

Last year, a massive bombing at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel killed more than 50 people and wounded dozens of others.