PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the suicide car bomb attack targeting a U.S. consulate vehicle in Peshawar, Pakistan, calling it a "cowardly act."
Speaking to reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she arrived on her Asia-Pacific tour, Clinton said she condemned "the attack on our consulate personnel in Peshawar" and prayed for the "safe recovery of both American and Pakistani victims." She said she deplored "the cowardly act of suicide bombing and terrorism that has affected so many people around the world, and which we all must stand against," a State Department transcript said.
The attack Monday was carried out by a suicide bomber who rammed his explosives-laden vehicle into a U.S. Consulate sport utility vehicle in the northwestern Pakistani city. There have been differing official reports on casualties.
The New York Times quoted a Pakistani official as saying at least two people died and another 13 were injured, including two police officers. A senior Pakistani official told the Times those killed were Pakistanis who were not in the vehicle.
The report quoted the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as denying any Americans were killed, adding those injured included two American and two Pakistani consulate employees.
Clinton said it appeared the van was carrying both American and Pakistani personnel and the suicide bomber "drove a vehicle into this van with the consequence there were injuries to both Pakistanis and Americans in the van and on the ground."
"The information I have is that the Pakistani authorities responded very appropriately to the scene, and we don't have any further information at this point. The injured are being taken care of. Some have been airlifted to Islamabad hospitals. But we appreciate the support we are getting from the Pakistani law enforcement and government personnel," Clinton said.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also said "two U.S. personnel and two Pakistani staff of the consulate were injured and are receiving medical treatment," adding no U.S. consular employees were killed, CNN reported.
Pakistani police and health officials said two Pakistanis were killed and 25 people were wounded in the attack, CNN reported.
The report quoted Umar Riaz, a senior Peshawar police official, as saying security personnel from the U.S. Consulate later surrounded the explosion-hit vehicle, transporting those traveling in it in another vehicle.
The attack occurred on Abdara road, near an office of the United Nations, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported. The area also houses several other foreign agencies, CNN said.
Peshawar, the scenic capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and close to the tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan, has been the scene of much deadly militant violence in recent years, in which hundreds have died.
The New York Times reported there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but suspicion was directed at the Taliban as the militant group has made threats to attack Americans in Pakistan.
Dawn reported Monday's attack also damaged several other vehicles and five or six nearby buildings. It quoted sources as saying there had been recent threats of an attack on the U.S. Consulate, and since then security had been put on high alert.
It was the third time the U.S. Consulate and its staff had been targeted by militants since April 2010.
One Pakistani security analyst told Pakistan's Nation newspaper he believed the Monday incident at least could create closer cooperation between the United States and Pakistan in defeating terrorism.
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