Bombing at Danish Embassy in Pakistan kills 6

Islamabad, Pakistan - A powerful car bomb exploded today outside the embassy of Denmark, which has been the target of angry protests over caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published in Danish newspapers. At least six people were killed and scores injured in the attack.

It was the second blast in less than three months to target foreigners or foreign interests in the Pakistani capital.

The explosion, which could be heard across much of the city, shattered windows in the embassy building, left a deep crater in the road outside and wrecked dozens of vehicles parked nearby.

Most embassy personnel were no longer working in the building, in the wake of protests over the 2005 cartoons that were reprinted in Danish newspapers earlier this year. Those killed and maimed included passersby, two policemen and a janitor at the Danish mission.

The force of the blast, which came during lunch hour in the quiet, upscale neighborhood, twisted the embassy's heavy metal gate and knocked down a section of wall surrounding the building.

Recently, Ayman Zawahiri, the second in command of Al Qaeda, had urged followers to strike at Danish targets because of the offending cartoons.

Pakistan's new government, led by the party of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, condemned the attack but said it would not deter the ruling coalition from conducting negotiations with Islamic militants.

Western news agencies quoted the Danish foreign minister, Per Stig Moeller, as saying that no Danish nationals were among the victims. He denounced the attack as "totally unacceptable."

Two nearby diplomatic residences were damaged in the blast, authorities said, and the U.S. Embassy urged American nationals to exercise great caution when moving about the capital.

The explosion was so strong that the engine of the car in which the bomb was planted was flung more than 100 feet, landing in the garden of another villa.

The nearby office of a United Nations-funded group was evacuated, and more than 30 of its employees suffered cuts from flying glass.

Diplomatic missions in Islamabad have been sensitive to threats against them. The Dutch mission moved into a heavily guarded five-star hotel this year after the release of a film that unflatteringly depicted aspects of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

On March 15, an explosion at a restaurant popular with foreigners killed a Turkish women and wounded dozen others, including five FBI employees.

In recent days, Islamists have organized rallies protesting the reprinting of the Danish cartoons.