Bombing 'revenge for publishing cartoons'

A car bomb that killed at least six people at the Danish embassy in Islamabad on Monday is thought to be in retribution for the publishing of cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

At least 35 people were hurt as the bomb ripped through the embassy and its neighbouring building in a wealthy district of the Pakistani capital at 1.15am, local time.

Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moeller said the attack could be linked to recent calls by Al Qaeda deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri for strikes on Danish targets in revenge for the publication of the images of Muhammad.

Danish paper Jyllands-Posten first published a series of caricatures of Muhammad in late 2005 which led to worldwide protests and diplomatic disputes the following year.

Hours before the blast, at the World Editors Forum in Gothenburg on Sunday, three editors defended their reasons for reprinting the cartoons in their publications.

Philippe Val, publisher and editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, said he reprinted the infamous cartoons as part of a campaign of solidarity with Jyllands-Posten, which saw French daily La République and Spanish paper El Pais and others do the same.

No UK national or regional paper published the cartoons, although there were protests outside the Danish embassy in London.

Val said he received threats to his life but remained adamant that while the press should not wilfully offend any minority, its right to offend if necessary should be defended.

Also on the panel was Ulf Johansson, editor-in-chief of Swedish regional paper Nerike Allehande, who republished the cartoons after a local art exhibition refused to show the original images.

Johansson received death threats from someone claiming to be from Al Qaeda and was given police protection.

The panel also included the former editor of Jordanian newspaper Shihane, Jehad Momani, who faces blasphemy charges over his reprinting of the cartoons, for which death is the maximum penalty in his country.

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