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Benazir Bhutto assassinated
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Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was fatally hit by sunroof lever after a terrorist attacker missed 3 shots at her and blew himself up in a suicide bomb attack on Thursday outside a campaign rally, Pakistani interior ministry spokesman said Saturday. (Video: Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated )

Bhutto, 54, died in a hospital after a suspected suicide bomber attacked her at an election rally inside Liaquat Bagh park in Rawalpindi, some 30 km south from Islamabad.

Pakistani Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said in a news briefing Saturday that Benazir Bhutto was hit by sunroof lever on her right side, which caused her death.

Earlier, media reports suggested that gun shots or bomb blast could be the direct cause of Bhutto's death.

Cheema confirmed that three gun shots were fired but none of them hit Bhutto. A report signed by seven doctors showed that there was no bullet or shrapnel inside her body.

But Farzana Raja of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party said the government's explanation is "a pack of lies," she said "it was a sniper shooting," also accusing the government of a "total security lapse."

Asif Ali Zardari (C-with white cap), husband of assassinated opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, lays a shawl at the grave of his wife Benazir Bhutto after her funeral in Garhi Khuda Bukhsh near Naudero Dec. 28, 2007. 

Hundreds of thousands of people Friday attended the funeral. Bhutto was buried near the grave of her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at her home village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern Sindh province.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Thursday that China was shocked at the killing of Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and strongly condemns the terrorist attack. (Video: China condemns killing of Pakistan's Bhutto )

On Friday, the Chinese government sent a message of condolences to Pakistan over the death of the country's opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

In the message, the Chinese government said it was shocked to learn of the assassination of Bhutto.

People carry the coffin of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan yesterday. Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack earlier yesterday that also killed at least 22 other people. Her death stoked new chaos across the nuclear-armed nation, an important US ally in the war on terrorism. (Shanghai Daily)

"Ms. Benazir Bhutto, a seasoned Pakistani statesman and an old friend of the Chinese people, has made significant contributions to the promotion of China-Pakistan friendly relations during her lifetime," said the message.

China extended profound condolences over Bhutto's death and sincere sympathies to her family, it said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Thursday demanded complete inquiry into the assassination of PPP Chairperson and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to local press reports Friday.

"We demand complete investigation as to who were behind the attack," PPP deputy chief Makhdoom Amin Faheem told a news conference in Islamabad.

The latest reports reported that at least 22 others were also killed in the blast. 

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto leaves a rally in the city of Rawalpindi in this TV grab December 27, 2007, shortly before she was killed in a gun and bomb attack. (CRI/Reuters)

Al-Qaeda is the major suspect in the murder of Benazir Bhutto, US government and private analysts said. Reportedly, a spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for Benazir Bhutto's death.

"We terminated America's most precious asset who had vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen," Al-Qaeda's commander and spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location.

The U.S. intelligence agencies were still investigating whether al-Qaeda terrorists had been behind the assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto , the White House said on Friday.

"There have been many claims of responsibility. Our intelligence community is still looking into it," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters at Crawford, Texas, where President George W. Bush's family is spending their New Year holiday.

Pakistani Interior ministry spokesman Cheema disclosed that Al-Qaida operative Baitullah Mehsud was behind the assassination of Bhutto. He said, "We have recorded a telephone call of Baitullah Mehsud in which he congratulated a cleric for killing Benazir Bhutto."

Cheema said that Bhutto was on the hit list of Al-Qaida and she was receiving life threats from the same group since her arrival in Pakistan.

Baitullah Mehsud was also involved in suicide attack on Bhutto in the southern port city of Karachi on Oct. 19 when she was leading a procession, he said.

Bhutto, leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party, served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan on October 18 after an eight-year exile.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting at the presidency on Thursday with top government officials after the assassination of Bhutto, state-run television reported.

Musharraf appealed to the nation to remain calm and peaceful after the death of Bhutto "so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated," state TV said.

Musharraf also announced three days of mourning for Benazir Bhutto. In a nationally televised speech, he said, "This cruelty is the work of those terrorists who we are fighting." (Video: Musharraf blame terrorists for the death of Bhutto )

A supporter of Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourns deaths of his colleagues after a suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died Thursday evening after being shot and seriously injured in an explosion near the capital Islamabad. (Xinhua/AP Photo)

Dead or injured supporters of Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto are seen after a suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. (Xinhua/AP Photo)

Blood is seen at the site of an explosion outside a rally by Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi December 27, 2007. Bhutto was killed in the gun and bomb attack after the rally on Thursday, her party said. (China Daily/Agencies)

(Xinhua News Agency December 28, 2007)

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