Article published on the 2009-06-10 Latest update 2009-06-11 11:41 TU
Rescue workers remove a body from the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar on June 10, 2009
(Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif)
At least 57 people were also injured in the blast at the five-star Pearl Continental Hotel in the north-west city of Peshawar.
It is thought that gunmen broke through a security barrier before blowing up a vehicle packed with explosives.
A Serbian UN refugee agency worker and a UNICEF worker from the Philippines are among the dead and authorities have warned that the death toll could rise.
"One portion of the hotel was totally destroyed,” said Abdul Ghafoor Afridi, a senior police officer in Peshawar. “Three people, including a manager of the hotel, are missing and we fear they are under the debris.”
The attack is the seventh fatal bombing in the city within a month. No one immediately claimed responsibility but it is thought that it is the work of the Taliban. Taliban leaders had threatened revenge attacks after Pakistan’s military launched a crackdown against them in three north-west districts earlier this year.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the bombing was a “heinous terrorist attack which no cause can justify.”