( Reuters ) - A suspected suicide bomber killed 115 people on Friday in an attack targeting former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she was driven through Karachi on her return from eight years in exile.
Officials said Bhutto was unhurt after one of the deadliest attacks in her country's history, having left the truck that had been transporting her through streets crowded with hundreds of thousands of well-wishers.
"Ms. Bhutto is safe and she has been taken to her residence," said Azhar Farooqui, a senior police officer in Karachi, after two explosions in quick succession rocked Bhutto's motorcade.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Militants linked to al Qaeda, angered by Bhutto's support for the United States war on terrorism, had earlier this week threatened to assassinate her.
Dr. Ejaz Ahmed, a police surgeon, told Reuters that 80 dead had been brought to three hospitals of the city. A Reuters reporter counted 35 bodies in another hospital.
Hospital officials said more than 200 people were wounded.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao said many of the casualties were police officers travelling in two of the vans that formed part of Bhutto's security detail.
Reuters photographer Athar Hussain was slightly wounded. He described "a ball of fire" bursting into the air and disappearing after the first blast. Hussain and another photographer on a truck following Bhutto's vehicle then rushed towards the site of the first blast.