Bombshell: NY Sun claims Bhutto was shot five times by team of snipers

posted at 4:07 pm on December 28, 2007 by Allahpundit

I’m skeptical, but it’s Friday and Eli Lake’s a respected reporter. What a scoop if it turns out to be true.

American and Pakistani military leaders are seeking to account for what may be renegade commando units from the Pakistani military’s special forces in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan’s opposition leader and former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

The attack yesterday at Rawalpindi bore the hallmarks of a sophisticated military operation. At first, Bhutto’s rally was hit by a suicide bomb that turned out to be a decoy. According to press reports and a situation report of the incident relayed to The New York Sun by an American intelligence officer, Bhutto’s armored limousine was shot by multiple snipers whose armor-piercing bullets penetrated the vehicle, hitting the former premier five times in the head, chest, and neck. Two of the snipers then detonated themselves shortly after the shooting, according to the situation report, while being pursued by local police.

A separate attack was thwarted at the local hospital where Bhutto possibly would have been revived had she survived the initial shooting.

The theory is that they were either jihadis or, given the professionalism of the hit, Pakistani special ops who had been coopted and reprogrammed by jihadis. Now then, help me with the supposed timeline. The huge bomb that went off next to Bhutto’s car was … only a decoy? Or was the decoy some other bomb that we haven’t heard about? So the decoy goes off, everyone starts running and screaming, and only then do the snipers capitalize on the confusion to pump Bhutto full of bullets. In that case, why were there at least two shots fired before the bomb went off? And how come no one, including the Getty photographer who snapped a shot of the blast, appears to have heard any other shots, let alone the sound of subsequent explosions from the two snipers who allegedly blew themselves up as cops were chasing them?

Like I say, I’m skeptical. But even so, have a look at the photos of Bhutto’s skull X-rays and the interior of the back seat of the vehicle. For a car that took a bomb blast at close proximity, it’s in awfully good shape.

Update: According to a McClatchy reporter who was there, witnesses said three to five shots were fired before the bomb went off and that she was hit in the neck. The vehicle couldn’t have been that close to the bomb, either, since she was taken to the hospital in it, not transferred to an ambulance. This is interesting too:

Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday’s rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts. As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: “Willing to die for Benazir.”

Update: Bob Owens sends this and wonders if a 5 kg bomb could really generate the blast seen in that photo.

Update: Jihadist filth celebrate the day of joy.


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The plot thickens….

Heck, before this is done, Bhutto will have been killed by a ton of things, not least an elephant trampling her ridden by Cheney, with a Halliburton sticker on the side while he shoots innocent CIA officers or something.

Vanceone on December 28, 2007 at 4:10 PM

Some journalists on FOX are also saying they have confirmed that the “official” story isn’t supported by the report of the doctors who attended to her.

davenp35 on December 28, 2007 at 4:11 PM

And one of them was on the grassy knoll.

LegendHasIt on December 28, 2007 at 4:13 PM

Wasn’t there some kind of confusion, with some say they heard 3 shots, others saying two?

amerpundit on December 28, 2007 at 4:13 PM

If she really did bang her head on the sunroof lever, does that still constitute an assasination?

Its Tommy on December 28, 2007 at 4:13 PM

I’m no military ops guy, but setting off a bomb next to a car whose occupants you want to shoot seems the most fantastically ass-backward plan imaginable. Smoke, chaos, movement–unless they were sniping with guided missiles, the chances of a hit would seem to drop astronomically. The target would almost certainly be shielded by bodyguards and the vehicle would be moving evasively to the extent possible.

TexasDan on December 28, 2007 at 4:15 PM

bhutto snuff?

You stay classy huffpo

TexasDan on December 28, 2007 at 4:18 PM

Wouldn’t she be an easier target for a sniper as she stands out of the sunroof – rather than after a bomb has gone off and she gets pulled inside the bulletproof vehicle?

nailinmyeye on December 28, 2007 at 4:18 PM

Two of the snipers then detonated themselves shortly after the shooting, according to the situation report, while being pursued by local police.

Doesn’t this seem a tad, well, weird. A sniper blowing themselves up???

bnelson44 on December 28, 2007 at 4:18 PM

I call Bravo Sierra

bnelson44 on December 28, 2007 at 4:19 PM

Yeah, this scenario doesn’t really make sense. I think it will take a few days for the real story to come out, too. And videos. There should be more than a zapruder film this time.

Vanceone on December 28, 2007 at 4:20 PM

I posted in a thread yesterday that Monsoor Ijaz was on Fox and said that “those that are certain that AQ did this need to take a step back, I believe Pakistani Black Ops organizations may have had a hand in this.”

broker1 on December 28, 2007 at 4:20 PM

Magic Muslim Djinnjas perhaps?

Interested Citizens gone wild?

Some burka babe who doesn’t like Thursdays?

Why does it matter precisely who did it?

Is some one looking for someone to “deal” with?

BL@KBIRD on December 28, 2007 at 4:25 PM

That second xray shows a perfectly round circle, with a light zone around it. It looks odd, especially since the first xray identifies a deformation above the cavity as “fracture” but nothing below.

What would create the halo effect around the opening, and why isn’t there a more obvious zone of fracture above which corresponds to the first xray shot?

TexasDan on December 28, 2007 at 4:25 PM

Limo was clearly armored… meaning it had blacked out windows.

Once she was in the vehicle, there is NO way any sniper could target her head… Let alone hit it with an armor penetrating shot… there is NO way to predict where a shot will go once it penetrates a metal surface AT AN ANGLE.

Five shots in the head?

Impossible.

Even if she was a stationary target, in the open, 5 sniper firing at once could not do FIVE head shots… the first bullet impact would move the head sufficiently so the others would miss.

I have to raise the Bull Pucky Flag on this one.

Romeo13 on December 28, 2007 at 4:25 PM

If there were explosions, it is possible that people might not have heard the sniper shots thereafter, but given the chaos and the lack of an autopsy, there’s no way to know for sure what happened other than Islamists being involved.

lawhawk on December 28, 2007 at 4:26 PM

I’m no military ops guy, but setting off a bomb next to a car whose occupants you want to shoot seems the most fantastically ass-backward plan imaginable.

True. But we are dealing with terrorists. They aren’t precisely rocket scientists. Oh, they do what they gotta and they manage some pretty disgusting things, but if they weren’t so bloody stupid, they’d be able to pull off some pretty fantastic plots. Of course, I’m quite happy and counting my blessings that brains aren’t exactly plentiful amongst them.

I am skeptical of this story. It seems unnecessarily too much, but I’m becoming less and less amazed by the plots devised by the terrorists.

mjk on December 28, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Did anyone, by any chance, spot any black helicopters lurking about.

Its only been slightly over a day, and yet there have been upwards of half a dozen theories already about a killing that happened in broad daylight in front of hundreds if not thousands of witnesses.

Hard to believe, eh.

Always Right on December 28, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Not buying it for a lot of reasons.

HuffPo has a slideshow up that shows the latch she struck her head on for the sunroof with blood on it and the bloody seat in the car interior.

All consistent with thrown against the latch by the blast like the doctors said.

Also shows the skull xrays but just says ap with no links to where the photos came from to check yourself

CommentGuy on December 28, 2007 at 4:29 PM

I’ve got ten bucks that before next week, we’ll see Al Qaeda and Musharraf spun as in bed together, and having worked with each other to pull this off. I don’t know how to make that logical, but there isn’t much logic in punditry these days.

MadisonConservative on December 28, 2007 at 4:30 PM

From the AP:

Bhutto was killed Thursday when a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a rally in Rawalpindi. Authorities initially said she died from bullet wounds, and a surgeon who treated her said she died from the impact of shrapnel on her skull.

But Cheema said she was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the force of the blast smashed her head into a lever on the sunroof, fracturing her skull, he said.

Thoughts?

Vizzini on December 28, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Always Right on December 28, 2007 at 4:28 PM

Hmmm….

Daylight???… check…
Hundreds of witnesses… yep…

And just who was on that grassy knoll?

Romeo13 on December 28, 2007 at 4:31 PM

That xray didn’t show any five head shots, unless they all went in the same hole.

The only way she got shot as many times as this report says she did is if it happend inside the car after the bomb went off.

TexasDan on December 28, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Grassy knoll?

JayHaw Phrenzie on December 28, 2007 at 4:37 PM

For a car that took a bomb blast at close proximity, it’s in awfully good shape.

Inverse square law…

elgeneralisimo on December 28, 2007 at 4:42 PM

Just to clarify: I didn’t mean that a 5kg explosive couldn’t cause the blast in the photo, I meant that I doubted a 5 kg blast could cause the damage to the vehicle reported inteh DAWN article and create a blast wave from 50 yards away that would cause her head to bounce off the car… providing, of course, that all the witnesses who state she was already back inside the car the car before the blast went off were wrong.

Until I hear something to convince me otherwise, I’m still leaning towards the proximate cause of death being an “inside” job–either Bhutto herself jerking back down, or someone inside the vehicle pulling her down in response to the gunshots.

Bob Owens on December 28, 2007 at 4:46 PM

Hmmmm. My comment bounced. Oh well.

MrC_5150 on December 28, 2007 at 4:48 PM

I’ll bet within two weeks we have headlines involving foreign agents, poison, laser beams and flying panda bears. This is Pakistan, folks. Anything is possible, but my money is still on AQ, with a bet hedged with Team Musharref.

Bottom line: she’s dead and there will be a hell of a scramble for power with her out of the way.

thejackal on December 28, 2007 at 4:56 PM

Check out the “Three shots then blast” video at CNN. Trying to comment with a link but it’s not working out for some reason.

MrC_5150 on December 28, 2007 at 4:57 PM

I went with the Lake story this morning, then reports emerged saying no bullet wounds.

I tend to believe Lake.

JammieWearingFool on December 28, 2007 at 5:05 PM

I went with the Lake story this morning, then reports emerged saying no bullet wounds.

I tend to believe Lake.

JammieWearingFool on December 28, 2007 at 5:05 PM

The slowed down video at CNN pretty clearly shows a shooter alongside the rear of the Bhutto vehicle firing a pistol in her direction just prior to the blast.

MrC_5150 on December 28, 2007 at 5:15 PM

The second x-ray photo shows a nice round, um, puncture for lack a better description. It’s really hard for me to see how she might have gotten it from the lever. The main bolt for the lever, maybe, but not the lever.

I’ll chalk that up to inspecificity, but I’ll also note that I can’t see the bolt doing it, either, provided the premise isn’t that the force of the bomb blast drove her head into it. The lever/bolt is at around bicep level to Bhutto while she stands there. I can understand her stiffening if pulled and/or slipping back into the passenger compartment — stiffening would address acquiring the force for hitting her head whereas hitting something in a relaxed fashion would allow the head to bounce off the lever/bolt — but the space she is in is very confining and I can’t picture her head having the momentum to strike any part of the lever/bolt with sufficient force to stave her skull in the way the x-rays show, especially because the puncture is so high on the head and the direction she would moving: mostly down and not sideways, and she would be more likely to get a skin gash, not a bone puncture.

I say all this as a result of watching the CNN video in the previous post. Another thing. If you look at that video, her position in pretty much her last moments, but maybe not the very last, were facing at 90 degrees to the lever/bolt location. Her puncture is at the back of her head. If this really was the cause, she would have had to have turned her head almost 90 degrees for the lever/bolt to hit her where the wound is and her shoulder did not inhibit her head movement at all towards the lever/bolt even while slipping into the vehicle.

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong or maybe she has paper thin bones or something. Maybe severe osteoporosis.

I did find it interesting that in the CNN vid, the cameraman didn’t catch her in the final second because he seemed to be distracted by something off to his left. It didn’t look like it was the bomb blast, though.

Dusty on December 28, 2007 at 5:17 PM

She really needed a Pope mobile.

tomas on December 28, 2007 at 5:20 PM

Where’s Adnan Hajj when ya need him, am I right?

RightWinged on December 28, 2007 at 5:21 PM

I don’t think anyone has a clue how she was killed. The stories are all over the place

KBird on December 28, 2007 at 5:28 PM

I don’t think anyone has a clue how she was killed. The stories are all over the place

KBird on December 28, 2007 at 5:28 PM

It’s either KAPOW! or KABOOM! (possibly both).

thejackal on December 28, 2007 at 5:46 PM

Huh. My first thought, when they mentioned the combination of guns and explosives, was a suicide bomber with a handgun — handguns are effective tools of assassination, provided the killer can get close, and a bomb vest would offer a second chance or a countermeasure to people jumping on the guy.

Men with rifles who strike from a distance, then blow themselves up to avoid capture… that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Weird stuff. If we’re talking black ops commandos, trained snipers, seems like a waste of trained dudes to me.

Well-Armed Lamb on December 28, 2007 at 6:03 PM

But even so, have a look at the photos of Bhutto’s skull X-rays and the interior of the back seat of the vehicle. For a car that took a bomb blast at close proximity, it’s in awfully good shape.

x-Rays are very bad, but don’t look like a gunshot wound

bnelson44 on December 28, 2007 at 6:19 PM

I think British or US forensics will need access to the body/photos before anything is fixed as true.

In the end it may not matter, the only thing Musharraf can do is blame al Qaeda go after al Qaeda, hard, but even that may not save him.

tarpon on December 28, 2007 at 6:47 PM

What does Rosie say?

Putting aside the theory that she died from a head wound when she hit her head, if she was shot in the head (and/or neck) how did snipers know she was a) going to stick her head out through the sun roof and b) do so at a point when they were in range to shoot her? That doesn’t sound like a very good plan.

If we go with the theory that they used armor-piercing bullets, wouldn’t the driver and/or bodyguards have been shot too? Further, wouldn’t she have received some wounds to her torso or legs?

I realize these may sound like idiotic questions. I freely admit I know nothing about weapons or forensics.

Buy Danish on December 28, 2007 at 7:05 PM

broker1 said: I posted in a thread yesterday that Monsoor Ijaz was on Fox and said that “those that are certain that AQ did this need to take a step back, I believe Pakistani Black Ops organizations may have had a hand in this.”

I watched him as well. He was very frank about his relationship with Bhutto, i.e. not the best of friends but respectful of each other. I think we should take that step back and see what shakes out.

Zorro on December 28, 2007 at 7:47 PM

So when does Hollywood come out with their version
of Bhutto’s assassination!

canopfor on December 28, 2007 at 8:12 PM

“But Cheema said she was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the force of the blast smashed her head into a lever on the sunroof, fracturing her skull, he said.”

Of all the theories, this sounds the most mundane and unglamorous, which means that it probably has a grain of truth to it.

Apeking on December 28, 2007 at 8:21 PM

Apeking on December 28, 2007 at 8:21 PM

It makes more sense than some of the other theories, but it’s too bad that it’s from the Pakistani Government because no one will believe it.

Buy Danish on December 28, 2007 at 8:43 PM

I think to many people on here have been watchingto much CSI and this was just another case. Bookum Dano,lol.

bones47 on December 28, 2007 at 8:48 PM

THIS IS CRAP!

The official story is that ONE guy shot her, then blew HIMSELF up. All this “sophisticated operation” (terrorist lover) stuff is from the universal early speculation.

Bottom line – they stopped the 15-year old suicide bomber the day before, and let their guard down.

Agrippa2k on December 28, 2007 at 11:17 PM

Well, let me sharpen up my Occam’s Razor and venture a guess that the holes in Bhutto’s head are the result of the guy everyone saw shoot her in the head. All the other theories seem to be a rather distant second, explanation-wise.

Sending a guy with a gun and a suicide vest doesn’t seem too professional to me. It seems more like the kind of overkill often associaated with bloodthirsty Muslim fanatics. A professional would concentrate on employing one weapon well instead of deploying two weapons in the hope that one will work.

If a sniper hit Bhutto with a high powered bullet from a rifle, she wouldn’t have much of a head left to x-ray. Kennedy’s brains and skull were splattered all over Dealey Plaza when Oswald shot him. Bhutto’s skull looks remarkably intact, as you might expect after impact by a low-velocity pistol bullet or bullets.

Five snipers sounds like the kind of overkill one would expect to see in an action movie or comic book, not a professional military operation. One sniper may be easy to hide, but five aren’t. It sounds sloppy and undisciplined.

So my money is on sloppy, kill-crazy, unprofessional jihadis as the culprits.

Tantor on December 29, 2007 at 4:01 AM

I read reports that an autopsy was not performed. That seems very strange to me. The initial reports said she was shot in the neck and chest and reports later in the day said she suffered shrapnel wounds. Final reports were that she suffered skull fractures.

Without an autopsy, we’ll never know.

Mooseman on December 29, 2007 at 10:01 AM

If I could clone one person, it would be Bhutto. The filthy sexist racist jihadis would spontaneously combust and rid the world of their murderous idiocy.

Christine on December 29, 2007 at 2:36 PM