- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 4, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan | Denmark’s intelligence service cast blame on al Qaeda for an attack near its embassy in Pakistan that investigators said Tuesday was carried out by a suicide bomber.

No one has claimed responsibility for the car bomb, which killed six people. But Danish authorities said the terrorist network or one of its affiliates was likely behind the explosion, which came just weeks after the terrorist group threatened Denmark over caricatures of the prophet Muhammad reprinted earlier this year in newspapers in that country.

“It is [the Danish Security and Intelligence Service’s] assessment that al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-related group likely is behind the attack,” said Jakob Scharf, director of the agency. He added that “a series of other militant Islamic groups and networks in Pakistan also could have the intention and the capacity to hit Danish targets in Pakistan.”

A team of Pakistani investigators sifted through the rubble at the scene of the explosion in a leafy neighborhood of Islamabad where security is supposed to be tight. Danish experts were expected to join them.

“I think we can say with a reasonable degree of confidence that it was a suicide attack,” said Tariq Pervez, director general of the Federal Investigation Agency.

Mr. Pervez said the bomb, containing about 55 pounds of explosives, was similar to that used in a suicide bombing in the eastern city of Lahore in March. Authorities have provided no results of the investigation into that attack.

Monday’s explosion wounded at least 35 people, left a deep crater on the road outside the embassy, severely damaged the nearby office of a development group and devastated trees and cars. The embassy building remained standing, though its windows were shattered.

The six dead include two Pakistani policemen, a cleaner and a handyman employed by the embassy. One was Pakistani-born with a Danish passport, the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen said.

Senior city police officer Ahmed Latif said the attacker used a stolen car with a fake diplomatic license plate to get past security near the embassy. He said several people were being questioned about the ownership of the car, but they were not regarded as suspects. No one has been arrested, he added.

Denmark has faced threats at its embassies after the reprinting in February by about a dozen newspapers of a cartoon that depicted Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban. That and other images in a Danish paper sparked riots in the Muslim world in 2006.

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