Saturday, September 20, 2008

Many Dead in Terrorist Attack at Islamabad Marriott

At least 40 people and probably more were killed today in what initial reports are calling a terrorist suicide car-bomb attack at the Marriott Islamabad hotel in Pakistan. The 280-room, 5-story hotel is popular with American tourists and as a dinner and meeting spot for Americans and others in the Pakistan capital.

Here is Marriott's statement this afternoon, in the company blog written regularly by Bill Marriott, the CEO, who is the son of the founder and the man who built Marriott into a major worldwide presence in the hotel industry. Marriott's statement also lists phone numbers for information on guests at the Islamabad hotel.

I remember meeting a palpably grieving Bill Marriott not long after the 9/11 attacks. At least 50 of the nearly 3,000 killed in Lower Manhattan that day were inside the Marriott at 3 World Trade Center, which firefighters were using as a staging area before the towers collapsed. The hotel, which sat between the Twin Towers, was destroyed along with the Twin Towers and 7 World Trade Center on 9/11.

(I also remember that my neighbor, employed by a Wall Street investment firm, was working out in the rooftop gym at the Marriott World Trade Center when the first plane hit on 9/11. He staggered home that night to a distraught wife and family who had no idea whether he was alive, after wandering in shock for hours through the maelstrom. To this day, he doesn't know how he got out of the hotel or how he made his way home, covered in grime and soot, his suit pockets stuffed bits of paper containing phone numbers jotted down by New Yorkers who had offered him help and a place to stay. In the New York area, memories of 9/11 are often personal and still quite raw.)

Anyway, here's a Web site with basic information about the Islamabad hotel.


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