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Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide bomb attack

Benazir Bhutto before the rally today

Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, has been killed in a suicide bomb attack at a political rally in Rawalpindi, the Interior Ministry said.
The opposition leader was taken to Rawalpindi General Hospital after the attack, which came as she left the rally, but died shortly afterwards from her injuries.Police initially reported that she was safe and unhurt, but a party security official later confirmed that the opposition leader had been hurt and was undergoing surgery.Her death was confirmed shortly after Ms Bhutto's husband was reported as telling a television channel that his wife was "badly injured".

As her death was announced, supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president.

Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, while others burst into tears. One man with a flag of the Pakistan People's Party tied around his head was beating his chest.

Sen Babar Awan, Ms Bhutto's lawyer, said: "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."
The suicide attack killed around 20 others, and witnesses said that bodies were scattered across Liaqat Bagh park where the rally had taken place. Some of the dead are thought to have been police officers.

This is not the first time Ms Bhutto, who was canvassing supporters ahead of general elections called for Jan 8, has been targeted by terrorists since returning from her eight-year self-imposed exile this year.

Bombers attacked her cavalcade as she triumphantly paraded through Karachi in October, killing at least 130 people.

After that attacked she accused supporters of Pakistan's late military ruler Mohammed Zia ul-Haq of masterminding the explosion.

Ms Bhutto and the other opposition figurehead and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been threatening to boycott the up-coming elections.

General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, is under pressure to end the emergency rule he imposed in November. Last month he resigned as army chief to allow him to contest the elections as a civilian candidate.

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