| A Pakistani naval soldier runs past a burning vehicle at the explosion site. (AFP)
Islamabad, March 2: A suicide car bomb attack killed an American diplomat and three others outside the US consulate in Karachi today, but President George W. Bush vowed to go ahead with his visit to Pakistan.
“Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan,” Bush said in Delhi from where he is coming to Islamabad.
Not only is the trip on, it appears Bush will also spend the night there, contrary to expectations earlier that he may not do this for security reasons.
His national security adviser Steve Hadley said in reply to questions from American journalists accompanying the President that Bush was now expected to leave tomorrow for Pakistan and spend the night there.
The question, posed as a statement, was: “We leave tomorrow to Pakistan.”
Hadley replied: “That’s my understanding.”
For security reasons, the Americans had left the timing of his departure for Pakistan vague ' both Friday night and Saturday morning had been talked about.
Hadley was asked: “When was the decision made that he would spend the night there'”
“It was made a while ago. It’s a decision that, obviously, because of the security situation, that this is something we’d like to do and it’s something we’d like to announce as late ' my understanding is that it has been announced,” he replied.
Still it is possible plans may be changed at the last minute.
Bush said: “I’ve been briefed on the bombings. We have lost at least one US citizen', a foreign service officer.”
The American was identified by Pakistani officials as David Foy, who was killed along with his driver and a Pakistani paramilitary trooper. A fourth body has not been identified, but police suspect it to be that of a suicide bomber.
Footage from security cameras installed at the consulate showed a bearded man wearing a salwar-kameez first parking his car and then starting it back up and ramming it into a US consulate vehicle he saw approaching.
Karachi police chief Niaz Ahmad Siddiqui said investigations revealed it was a suicide attack.
“We have found remains of the bomber and DNA tests are currently being carried out,” Siddiqui said.
The Opposition has given a call for countrywide strike and protests tomorrow.