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Bush: 'Radical killers' behind Karachi bomb

Group warns of more attacks

Police officers stand beside a damaged vehicle in front of the U.S. Consulate
Police officers stand beside a damaged vehicle in front of the U.S. Consulate  

KARACHI, Pakistan (CNN) -- A previously unknown militant group called "Al-Qanoon" claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 10 people Friday at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi and warned the attack was just "the beginning."

In Washington, the State Department said it suspected Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network was behind the attack.

"We fight an enemy that are radical killers. That's what they are," President Bush said during a visit to his home state of Texas. "They claim they're religious people and they blow up Muslims. They have no regard for individual life."

Hours earlier, an explosives-laden car near a guard post outside the heavily guarded consulate exploded, killing 10 people and wounding 51 others, authorities said. At least two of the victims were security guards, and everyone killed in the attack was Pakistani.

Authorities said it was unclear whether the blast was the work of a suicide bomber or set off by remote control.

The explosion occurred about 11 a.m. (1 a.m. EDT), shattering windows, destroying a boundary wall and several nearby vehicles and leaving a three-foot-deep crater. The road where the attack occurred had recently reopened after being closed due to security concerns.

Bush said the attack would not stop the U.S.-led war on terrorism.

"If they think they are going to intimidate the United States, they do not understand the United States of America. And we will continue to hunt them down and seek justice," he said.

In the aftermath of the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and all American consulates in Pakistan closed for the day. A decision was expected over the weekend on whether the facilities will reopen Monday.

Site linked to 'dirty bomb' suspect

The attack targeted the U.S. consulate where American-born al Qaeda suspect Jose Padilla applied for a new passport in February, according to the State Department.

CNN's Chris Burns describes the aftermath of the scene where a bomb went off at the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan (June 14)

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Pakistani government spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi on the investigations.
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On the Scene: Azhar Abbas: Possible al Qaeda link? 

Gallery: Karachi car bomb 

U.S. officials say Padilla, an American Muslim convert, planned to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States. Padilla's passport application raised the suspicions of a consular official who tipped off the FBI -- a notification that ultimately led to Padilla's arrest May 8 in Chicago.

Karachi also is where Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and killed earlier this year.

In claiming responsibility for Friday's bombing, Al-Qanoon -- "The Law" -- warned that "America, its allies and its slave Pakistani rulers should be prepared for more attacks."

"The bomb blast is the beginning of Al-Qanoon's jihadi activities in Pakistan," the previously unknown group said in a letter to the Karachi newspaper "News."

Syed Kamal Shah, the police chief of Pakistan's Sindh province, said authorities had received a copy of the claim and were investigating.

In Washington, a senior State Department official said the Bush administration suspects the attack was carried out by al Qaeda because of its resemblance to the bombing of a Karachi bus in May. That attack killed 14 people, including 11 French nationals.

The official also said the size of the explosion suggested al Qaeda's involvement: "Pakistani (militant) groups haven't demonstrated that level of sophistication," the official noted.

'We are investigating all angles'

The State Department's Diplomatic Security Services is to send at least four agents from Washington to Karachi to help in the investigation, said Diplomatic Security spokesman Andy Laine.

Relatives of a victim killed in the car bomb blast mourn outside a local hospital
Relatives of a victim killed in the car bomb blast mourn outside a local hospital  

A Pakistani government spokesman said "extremist elements who are not happy" with Pakistan's war against terror "could also be responsible" for the deadly suicide bomb attack, but "it's rather early for us to really make up our minds."

"We are investigating all angles," said Maj. Gen. Rashid Qureshi. "We need to keep our minds open."

Qureshi did not name al Qaeda, the terror network Pakistan is fighting on its western border, or India, which is involved in a tense face-off with its nuclear rivals over the disputed area of Kashmir with Pakistan.

The explosion came on the heels of a visit by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who left the region Thursday after visiting Indian and Pakistani officials in an effort to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. (Rumsfeld's visit.)

"We do know we are passing through sensitive, dangerous times where I think Pakistan has made the correct choice and is heading toward rooting out all forms of extremism and radicalism from not only people inside Pakistan but assisting coalition forces in achieving peace in the whole world," Qureshi said.

India's minister of external affairs, Jaswant Singh, deplored the "terrorist activity."

"Of course, we have entirely sympathized with the victims and our condolences go with the families and relatives of those who have been affected by this," Singh said. (More details.)

-- CNN's Chris Burns, CNN's Syed Mohsin Naqvi, National Security Correspondent David Ensor, State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and Journalist Azhar Abbas contributed to this report


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