Pakistan's Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Pakistan's Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Pakistan's Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated
By: Associated Press

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) - A man who says he witnessed the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto says he was standing about 10 yards away from her white, bulletproof SUV.

The witness, a leader of Bhutto's party, says Bhutto was inside the SUV and was leaving a campaign rally when some young supporters began chanting slogans. He says he saw a smiling Bhutto emerge through the vehicle's sunroof.

Then, says the witness, he saw "a thin, young man" jumping toward Bhutto's vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, he saw Bhutto's vehicle speed away.

The attacker shot Bhutto, then blew himself up. At least 20 others were killed in the attack.

Police cordoned off the street and rescuers rushed to put victims in ambulances as onlookers wailed nearby.

Bhutto was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack.

Hours later, her body was carried out of the hospital in a plain wooden coffin by a crowd of supporters.

Two U.S. lawmakers are cutting short their visit to Pakistan following Bhutto's assassination.

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy were scheduled to meet with Bhutto later today, as well as with President Pervez Musharraf.

Specter, speaking from his Islamabad hotel room, says he heard about the attack on Bhutto as he was getting ready for dinner with Musharraf.

Specter described Bhutto's death as a "real shock" and says America's foreign policy had relied on Bhutto's presence as a "stabilizing force."

After learning that she was dead, Specter, Kennedy and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan went to Bhutto's campaign headquarters, and laid flowers there under her photo.

Specter describes the atmosphere in Islamabad as unsettling. He says he and Kennedy are cutting short their trip by a day on the advice of the State Department.

The White House says it expects an open review into the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel says the Bush administration is willing to work with Pakistan to make sure a thorough investigation takes place.

He noted that President Bush has spoken by phone with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, but had no further details. He also said that it's up to Pakistan to determine whether to move forward with its upcoming parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is urging Pakistanis to remain calm. Rice says the attack will "no doubt" test the will and patience of Pakistan's people. But she's calling on citizens and political leaders to "work together to build a more moderate, peaceful, and democratic future."

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