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Hunt for Pakistan church bombers

'A sheer act of terror'

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A manhunt is under way in Pakistan for suspects in a grenade attack on a church in Islamabad which left at least five people dead and scores of others injured.

An American woman and her 17-year-old daughter have been confirmed as among the dead, officials said, killed after male attackers threw grenades into the church during Sunday services.

More than 40 people were injured, including at least 10 Americans.

Pakistan's health minister identified two of the other victims as a Pakistani national and an Afghan; the fifth victim was not identified.

Windows in the Protestant International Church, in the diplomatic quarter of the Pakistani capital were blown out by the blast, which occurred at around 10 a.m. local time (0500 GMT). No one has claimed responsibility.

Islamabad's senior police superintendent, Nasir Khan Durrani, who is leading the investigation, called the attack "a sheer act of terror."

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U.S. and Pakistani officials suspect that anti-U.S. sentiment is behind the attack. CNN's Ash-Har Quraishi reports.

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U.S. President George Bush says he is 'outraged.' CNN's Major Garrett reports.

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Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, ordered a manhunt for the attackers and called it an attempt to undermine his effort to crack down on militancy and terrorism.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened in Islamabad," said Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi, a Musharraf spokesman. "We are shocked and condemn the attack."

Bush 'outraged'

U.S. President George W. Bush angrily condemned the attack in a statement published on the White House's Web site.

"I am outraged by the terrorist attack that took place today in Islamabad, Pakistan, against innocent civilians," Bush said. "I strongly condemn them as acts of murder that cannot be tolerated by any person of conscience nor justified by any cause."

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin identified the American dead as Barbara Green and her 17-year-old daughter Kristen Wormsley. She described them as "members of the American Embassy family in Islamabad."

"There is a hard lesson to be drawn from today's tragic events," Chamberlin said.

"It is that President Bush and President Musharraf and other courageous men and women around the world were absolutely right to take on the terrorists no matter where they are."

Diplomats and their families use the church, which is about 300 meters (330 yards) from the U.S. Embassy, for regular Sunday worship.

On Monday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Christina Rocca arrived in Islamabad to meet with Chamberlin and other embassy officials.

Rocca had been in New Delhi for routine consultations with Indian officials but "immediately set up the trip to Pakistan" following the church attack, a state department spokesman said.

Limited security

Officials say the church -- in an area home to a large number of expatriates and their families -- was only lightly guarded, with one officer responsible for overseeing its three entrances.

Eyewitnesses gave conflicting reports of how many attackers entered the building, with some saying the men appeared to be local residents.

At least 60 people were inside the church for morning services when police believe up to six hand grenades were thrown into the building. Two exploded, according to police and witnesses.

In October, 16 Christian worshippers were killed during a Sunday service in eastern Pakistan, an attack Musharraf blamed on "trained terrorists."



 
 
 
 







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