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Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died during surgery from injuries sustained
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died during surgery from injuries sustained in a suicide bomb attack, local TV channels said on Thursday.

The attack occurred when a suicide bomber blew himself up during an opposition rally in Rawalpindi, near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, leaving around 20 people dead and at least 15 injured.

Bhutto, 54, who had twice been the country's prime minister, was about to run in parliamentary election January 8 as leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

Russia condemned the terrorist attack. "We denounce the act and express our condolences to Bhutto's relatives and friends," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin told the press.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after more than eight years of self-imposed exile. Her arrival was overshadowed by a terrorist act which took the lives of 140 people and injured 500 as hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets to greet her homecoming.

Bhutto pledged to fight against extremism and for democratic reforms, and opposed the emergency rule imposed on November 3 by President Pervez Musharraf who cited a dangerous rise in militant activity.

On December 15, the president lifted the state of emergency claiming that the threat from Islamic militants had been partly dealt with and contained.

Less than a week later a suicide attack targeting Pakistan's former interior minister killed up to 60 people and injured around 40 in a mosque in the country's northwest. At least eight people were killed and seventeen wounded in a terrorist blast in northwest Pakistan two days later on December 23.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry said in early November that about 670 people in Pakistan had been killed and over 1,800 injured in a total of 157 terrorist attacks in 2007.

Bhutto was the daughter of deposed Premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the PPP. He served as the president of Pakistan between 1971 and 1973, and as prime minister between 1973 and 1977. He was hanged in 1979 by the country's military ruler, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, allegedly for sanctioning the assassination of a political opponent.


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