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Security Heightened in Wake of Sunday’s Attack

BY Admin  March 18, 2002 at 6:25 PM EDT

An American embassy employee and her 17-year old daughter were killed in the attack. The injured included people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia and Germany. Several of the injured were reported to be in serious condition.

More than 60 people were in the church at the time of the attack. No one has claimed responsibility.

President Bush condemned the killings, saying in a press statement they were “acts of murder that cannot be tolerated by any person of conscience nor justified by any cause.”

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said he was dismayed by the poor security near the church, which is located in the capital’s diplomatic enclave. Late Monday afternoon, Mr. Bush and Gen. Musharraf pledged to cooperate in the investigation.

After the attacks, Pakistan put its military and police on high alert.

“While our troops are fully awake to the threat by the enemy, we cannot lower our guard to the internal security which is also of paramount importance,” a Pakistani government statement said.

The U.S. State Dept., meanwhile, issued a worldwide travel warning to Americans. It said Sunday’s attack “underlines the growing possibility that as security is increased at official U.S. facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek softer targets,” including restaurants, schools or clubs where Americans congregate.

Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca curtailed her trip to India, instead flying to Pakistan to escort the bodies of the two embassy victims home. In a press statement, Rocca said the “cowardly murders” in Islamabad “are yet more evidence of the necessity to continue with the international coalition’s war against terrorism.”

Witnesses have provided conflicting information on the attack. Some reported seeing at least one man hurling grenades into the church. Others say a man walked into the church with grenades strapped to his body, and blew himself up in the attack.

“Nobody has claimed responsibility for this attack,” Pakistani Interior Minister Moinuddin Haider told reporters, “but there is one unidentified body and we are seeing the possibility of that man being involved.”

Haider told CNN the attack could have been waged by “people who want to give a message to the West, the people who are against the war against terrorism.”

The attack comes nearly two months after Pakistani militants kidnapped and later killed Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.