Six British citizens, including one child, were injured in the deadly truck bombing in the Pakistan capital Islamabad, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
The truck, laden with 600 kg of explosives, was blown up outside the Marriott Hotel in the Pakistani capital Islamabad last night. It killed at least 52 people and started a fire which swept through the hotel, injuring more than 250 others.
The Britons are all receiving treatment in a nearby hospital and their condition is not known. The figure includes three British members of staff from the British High Commission working in Pakistan.
Aftermath: Policemen stand beside a huge crater created by the powerful blast outside the burnt-out Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan
Scene of devastation: Soldiers guard the crater today
Epicentre: The large crater while the hotel continued burning in the background
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband insisted the bombing will only reinforce Britain's determination to combat terrorism in the country.
Mr Miliband said: 'This latest bombing attack is yet another shocking and disgraceful attack without justification. Such an indiscriminate and brutal act of terror deserves the condemnation of the entire international community.
'We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the government of Pakistan against the violent extremists who have no answers but only offer death and mayhem. This horrific attack reinforces our shared determination to tackle violent extremism.'
The explosion happened hours after new President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, made his first address to a joint sitting of parliament.
Police carry one of the victims of the blast to safety from the ruins of the Marriott Hotel last night
The huge blast ripped through cars in the hotel car park
Flames and smoke poured out of the 290-room hotel, located close to the city centre and popular with tourists.
CCTV footage showed security guards frantically trying to douse flames from the truck seconds before it exploded.
'The truck was stopped at the barrier and there was an altercation between the attacker and the guards,' said Rehman Malik, the top official in the Interior Ministry, which released the images, told a news conference.
'A doctor was on an emergency call and was standing behind the truck. He asked the guards to remove the truck so that he could drive in to attend a patient,' Malik continued.
CCTV footage: A truck rams the security gate as guards scatter
Sniffer dogs then detected something wrong and guards shouted to people to run.
The footage showed the truck driver tried to ram the retractable metal barrier and bar at the security checkpoint at the entrance to the hotel's forecourt and parking area.
Some accounts given earlier had suggested that there had been an exchange of fire between the truck driver and the security guards on duty, but that wasn't clearly evident from the closed circuit television images.
Most of the guards retreated when the truck tried to ram the barrier. What happened next appeared to have been a small explosion in the cabin.
CCTV: A small fire, right, then starts in the truck, which guards try to extinguish, before the screen goes blank
Flames were seen spreading from the front to the rear, of the hydraulic dumper truck as cars passed by on the road behind.
After the explosion some guards moved in before retreating once again, and finally one came back with a fire extinguisher, but failed to make an impression on the blaze.
Then the screen turned blue, presumably as the final explosion occured, killing immediate bystanders. Other victims were felled by flying glass and from the subsequent fire that swept through the building.
A hotel worker looks in the wreckage of the lobby of the devastated Marriott
The morning after: The entrance to the hotel is covered in debris from the bomb
Malik said he expected the investigation to point to the tribal areas used as bases by Taliban and al Qaeda fighters on the border with Afghanistan.
'Preliminary investigations revealed that 600 kg explosives were used,' Malik said. 'High explosives RDX and TNT were used.
'Unlike previous attacks, aluminium power was also used... When the fire balls hit the building, the aluminium power fueled the fire,' he said, explaining the ferocity of the blaze.
Horror: Fire sweeps through the Marriott after the suicide attack
The blast brought down the ceiling in a banquet room where there were about 200 to 300 people at a meal to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
Among the dead is the Czech ambassador to Pakistan, Ivo Zdarek.
Imtiaz Gul, a journalist, was among those in the hotel. 'We just ran for cover, I could see a lot of injured people lying around me,' Gul said.
One of the victims staggers from the hotel to safety
Police search through the rubble and large chunks of wall blown from the hotel in the blast
Zardari has pledged to fight Islamist militants who have been blamed for a string of bomb attacks in the country.
But he told parliament that Pakistan would not tolerate any infringement of its territory in the name of the fight against militants. A series of U.S. strikes on militants along the Pakistan-Afghan border have infuriated many Pakistanis.
Zardari won a presidential election this month to replace U.S. ally Pervez Musharraf, who stepped down in August under threat of impeachment.
The United States and Afghanistan say al Qaeda and Taliban militants operate out of bases in remote ethnic Pashtun lands on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border.
Fire fighters are still pulling bodies out of the hotel, which was swept with fire following the explosion
The blast outside the Marriott was the biggest to hit Islamabad and destroyed dozens of cars outside and shattered windows and damaged buildings hundreds of metres away. The Marriott chain has its headquarters in the United States.
Police at the scene said people were trapped inside. A crane was brought in to help in the rescue.
The hotel has been bombed twice before but the Saturday evening blast was the most serious in the Pakistani capital since the country joined the U.S.-led campaign against militancy in late 2001.
Al Qaeda-linked militants based in sanctuaries in the Afghan border have launched a bloody campaign of bomb attacks in retaliation for offensives by the security forces.