"Dozens of bodies are littered all over the place. The blast could be heard all over the city, and has literally taken the leaves off the trees ... and broken all the windows in adjoining areas," he reported.
 
Denmark's foreign ministry has confirmed that a Danish national was killed in the attack.

Cartoon row

"It must be remembered that there was considerable anger at the Danish because of the cartoon affair," he said, referring to recent re-publication of cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

Denmark had moved out most of its foreign staff in recent months due to threats linked to the row over the cartoons.
 
Ahmed Qureshi, a political analyst, told Al Jazeera that the timing was very strange if it was an attack in response to the publication of the cartoons.

"The timing is very strange ... It is not an issue right now, it's over. No one, not even in the tribal areas, is talking about the cartoons"

Ahmed Qureshi, political analyst
"The timing is very strange ... It is not an issue right now, it's over. No one, not even in the tribal areas, is talking about the cartoons," he said.

Sheikh Abdul Wahed Pedersen, Imam of Danish speaking Muslims, agreed.

"The timing is indeed strange ... It is not a hot topic here [in Demark], it is not a hot topic anywhere else," he said.

"It could also be a direct attack on the political situation in Pakistan - a double-hit ... It could also be in relation to Afghanistan, Denmark is working in Afghanistan."

The country has about 550 troops stationed in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

However, diplomatic sources told the AFP news agency that Denmark had moved out most of its foreign staff in recent months due to threats linked to the row over the cartoons.

 

Norway closed its embassy in Islamabad after the blast.
 
Security alert

Zahid Hussein, a Pakistani military analyst, told Al Jazeera that the new government's policy of negotiating with tribal fighters on the border with Afghanistan may have spurred the attack.
 
"Several groups have warned that they will not tolerate this kind of stance by the government," he said.
 
The blast was reportedly caused by a car
bomb in an embassy parking area [AFP]
"Two or three months ago there was a high security alert in Pakistan, not just around the Danish embassy, but also the Dutch embassy.

"There could have been some security lapse."

There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing.

A reporter for the AFP news agency said that the force of the blast badly damaged two buildings in front of the embassy, one of which belongs to a development agency.

A worker at the agency, the UN-backed Devolution Trust for Community Development, said he arrived at his office seconds after the explosion.
  
"I saw blood and smoke and the trees were burning and debris was in the air settling down. Our building looked like it had been destroyed," Mohammad Salim told AFP.
 
Bombing denounced

 

Denmark called an emergency ministerial meeting after the attack and Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, called the bombing "an attack against Denmark".

 

"Denmark will not alter its policy because of a terror attack," he said. 


"We will not give in to terrorists. We will maintain the foreign and security policy line we have been leading."

 

Almost all the people wounded in Monday's
explosion were Pakistani civilians [Reuters]
Per Stig Moeller, the foreign minister, called the attack "totally unacceptable".

 

George Bush, the US president, also denounced the bombing.
 
"We condemn the terrorist attack, there is no justification for it," Dana Perino, the White House spokeswoman, said.
 
"The president has been briefed, he offers his condolences to victims of violence and their families."

 

Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, had also condemned the bombing as "outrageous."
 
The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe also denounced the embassy attack, in a statement received by Al Jazeera.
 
The statement said that such acts distorted the image of Islam, and cannot be taken as justification against abuses to the religion.