Suicide-bomber seen running through crowd

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A senior Pakistani police investigator has claimed the suicide-bomber responsible for the Karachi attack was seen running through the crowd surrounding Benazir Bhutto's convoy before hurling himself towards her armoured truck.

The policeman, appointed yesterday to a senior position in the investigation of the blast, said members of Ms Bhutto's Parliamentary People's Party had told officers the man ran diagonally towards the convoy and threw a grenade before setting off his explosives. The policeman showed The Independent a photograph showing the head and neck of a young man whom he said was the suicide bomber.

There was no independent confirmation of the claims but Manzoor Mughal, a senior police official in the city, told Reuters the head of the bomber had been found. He said the bomber had been carrying up to 40lb (18kg) of explosives. The upward force of such blasts typically blows off the heads of suicide bombers.

Much is still unclear about the attack on Ms Bhutto's convoy, which happened shortly after midnight as it passed beneath the Karsaz Bridge en route from the airport to the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founder.

Ms Bhutto said there were two suicide bombers involved though she offered no evidence to support this. She also said several shots had been fired at her vehicle during the attack, while a man armed with a pistol and another wearing a suicide belt were arrested earlier. She said it was unclear if the shots had been fired at the wheels of the truck.

She said she had left the top deck of the customised vehicle and was working with her secretary on a speech for a rally due to take place in the early hours of the morning when she heard the first blast. Someone suggested to her it might have been nothing more than a firecracker. "Something inside told me this was not a fire-cracker – it's a suicide attack," she said.

"We waited 30 seconds and then 60 seconds and we saw a huge orange light and saw the bodies spilling over ... There was blood and gore on all of them. It was a very traumatic scene for us. It was such a powerful blast that even the armoured truck was dented." Early yesterday, the truck still stood where it had been abandoned following the attack that killed at least 130. The top deck, where Ms Bhutto had been standing for nine hours before going below, was scattered with debris, including a blood-stained telephone.

The road nearby was blackened with incinerated material while the grass between the lanes was smeared with blood. Workers were still clearing up. One man was gathering human remains, including those collected from the top deck of Ms Bhutto's truck.