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A senior State Department official confirmed that the US plan for the consulate in Peshawar involves the purchase of the luxury Pearl Continental hotel. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.
The Pearl Contintental is the city's only five-star hotel, set in its own expansive grounds, with a swimming pool. It's owned by Pakistani tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani.
Peshawar is an important station for gathering intelligence on the tribal area that surrounds the city on three sides and is a base for Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The area also will be a focus for expanded US aid programs, and the American mission in Peshawar has already expanded from three US diplomats to several dozen.
There have been several casualties from what was described as a massive explosion by police.
SLAMABAD, June 9 (Reuters) - A bomb exploded outside the Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar, northwest Pakistan, causing several casualties, police said.
Pakistan has been struck by a wave of bomb attacks since security forces launched an offensive to expel Taliban militants from the northwestern Swat valley and nearby districts. (Reporting by Kamran Haider, writing by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Officials says a huge bomb has exploded at a luxury hotel in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least five people and wounding 25 others.
Police official Liaqat Ali says gunmen stormed into the Pearl Continental Hotel in the northwestern city on Tuesday night just before "a big bomb went off."
Sahibzada Anis, a top government official in Peshawar, says at least five people were killed and 25 wounded.
The blast is the latest in a string of attacks in Pakistani cities in recent weeks that officials say are revenge for a military offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley.
CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson, who has stayed at the hotel, said it is favored by diplomats and is next door to a police station and near a major army barracks.
Peshawar bomb disposal squad Inspector Hukam Khan confirmed soon after the explosion that a car bomb caused the destruction.