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Pakistani police question 3 about killer blast

Police in Pakistan are questioning three people in connection with a failed assassination attempt aimed at former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Police in Pakistan are questioningthree people in connection with a failed assassination attempt aimed at former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Benazir Bhutto spoke in Karachi on Friday, when she blamed militants for the attack that killed at least 136 people on Thursday. ((David Guttenfelder/Associated Press))

The men are suspected of being connected with avehicle used in the attack, which killed at least 136 people, the Associated Press reported, citing an investigator who could not be named.

The vehicle may have been used by an attacker whothrew a grenade at Bhutto's convoy as itmoved through thick crowds in Karachi on Thursday, it is suspected.Subsequently, there was a second, much larger explosion, which police have said was caused by a suicide bomber.

Thesuicide attack is blamed for the deathsand wounding ofseveral hundred more people, although Bhutto was unharmed.

The police also released a photograph on Saturday of aman they suspect was the suicide bomber. The picture, published in Pakistani newspapers, shows the head of what looks like a young man placed on a sheet. BBC reporterBarbara Plett said he is believed to have been an Islamic militant.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, but pro-Taliban and pro-al-Qaeda militants had earlier warned Bhutto not to return to Pakistan from her eight-year, self-imposed exile. On Friday, sheblamed militants for the attack.

Hopes for democracy

Bhutto's returned to Pakistan with plans to push the country towards democracy. She left the country in 1999 to escape charges of corruption, after twice serving as prime minister.

A deal with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf will see those charges wiped clean. She wants to become prime minister for an unprecedented third time, but that would require a constitutional amendment since Pakistani law currentlylimits leadersto two terms.

Bhutto, who heads the secular, liberal party, Pakistan Peoples Party,has said she will fight theextremism that hasgiven Pakistan a reputation as a hotbed of terrorism.

In Karachi Saturday, her supporters demonstrated and shots were fired as they clashed with anti-Bhutto protesters.

With files from the Associated Press

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