At least forty people were killed and dozens more are feared to have been seriously injured in an apparent suicide truck bomb blast outside the Marriot Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad.
The entire front section of the 290-room hotel was destroyed according to eye-witnesses and burning debris was scattered in the streets surrounding the building.
A guard is reported as saying a lorry caught fire outside the hotel before exploding at a security cordon where it had been stopped.
A fleet of ambulances took the wounded to hospital and rescue services were searching for more victims long after the initial explosion.
After the blast, flames tore through the upper floors. There is no word yet if any foreigners were hurt. It’s thought as many as 200 people may have been trapped in the blazing ruins.
Would-be rescuers fighting to get inside say the force of the blast caused ceilings in the lobby and dining area to collapse.
It is the third time the Marriot Hotel has been targeted by terrorists in recent months.
The death toll is expected to rise.