According to the Saudi Gazette, Saturday’s suicide bombing attack on the Marriott hotel franchise in Islamabad, Pakistan were “almost undoubtedly” the work of “Islamist militant groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taleban.” The bombing occured in the wake of a series of US missile strikes against militant targets in the Pakistani tribal lands bordering Afghanistan. Their intent, according to the Gazette, was surely to send a message:
The hotel is Pakistani-owned, but Marriott is an American franchise. There is only one other five-star hotel in Islamabad.
The hotel is in a high-security zone close to the presidency building, the prime minister’s residence and the parliament.
Hitting the Marriott demonstrated the militants’ ability to penetrate the security ring.
The hotel’s clientele are members of the Pakistani elite, foreign diplomats, businessmen and journalists.
According to another report, Talat Masood, a retired general turned security analyst: “The militants are saying that we are so powerful we can attack anywhere at any time, and we will continue to so unless you halt your military operations.” He added: “”The footprints seem to be Taliban and al-Qaida.”
According to the Kansas City Star,
Sadruddin Hashwani, the millionaire holder of the Marriott franchise in Pakistan, vowed to reopen the hotel in four months, a target that seemed highly ambitious given the scale of the damage. He also said that guards should have shot the bomber.
“If I were there and had seen the suicide bomber, I would have killed him. Unfortunately, they didn’t,” Hashwani said. “But we will have better training (in future).”
Travellers and residents, fearing more attacks, avoided 5 Star hotels and American franchises:
The impact of the Marriott bombing was immediate. Bookings at five-star hotels in Karachi, hundreds of miles away, were reportedly down 50 percent, while the normally popular American fast-food chains, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds, were deserted.
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