ISLAMABAD: Twin suicide blasts tore through a university campus in Pakistan's capital Tuesday killing flour people and injuring 29 others, as the military pursued a major anti-Taliban offensive in the lawless northwest.
The bombing of Islamabad's International Islamic University was the seventh major militant attack in just over a fortnight and the first since the military launched what officials vowed would be a knockout blow against the Taliban.
At around 3:00 pm (0900 GMT), two explosions seconds apart rocked a male teaching faculty and women's cafeteria of what is one of the largest Islamic universities in the world, attracting Muslim students from home and abroad.
"We are in a state of war. They will make every effort to destabilise the country. These so-called Islamists are enemies of Islam and enemies of Pakistan," Interior Minister Rehman Malik said at Islamabad's main hospital.
The US embassy in Pakistan said the "vicious attack on a respected Islamic educational institution reveals yet again the cruel and inhuman nature of the terrorists operating against Pakistan and its people".
Broken glass and pieces of charred flesh littered the faculty building's first floor, where blood dripped down the stairwell and students stepped through the debris, choking under thick smoke, a French news agency reporter said.
"Seven people including two suicide bombers are dead, and 29 injured in the two attacks. Among the dead is one female," senior city administration official Rana Akbar Hayat said at the scene of the attack.
Doctor Minjahul Siraj, at Islamabad's main hospital, confirmed there were five dead bodies in the morgue, with 22 people wounded including 16 women.
The first blast ripped through the faculty of Islamic jurisprudence used by male students and the second hit the women's cafeteria, law student Qudrat Ullah said at the scene.
"There is panic. Students are rushing to donate blood. There are a lot of police arrived inside the building," he said.
"Casualties were taken away first in private vehicles. Then ambulances arrived. I saw several people wounded."
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked extremists have carried out a two-year campaign of suicide bombings and commando raids that have killed 2,280 people.
"Whether they claim or don't claim, all roads lead to South Waziristan," the interior minister said, referring to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold on the Afghan border where the military launched its offensive at the weekend.
A barrage of attacks since October 5 has left more than 170 people dead, underlining the scale of the insurgency that authorities are trying to halt.
Officials said at least 98 militants and 13 soldiers had been killed since the fighting erupted Saturday in the semi-autonomous tribal region, and more than 120,000 civilians have now fled to areas outside the war zone.
Troops backed by artillery, attack helicopters and fighter jets Tuesday pounded Taliban bastions around Kotkai, the home town of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, the military said.