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.

Tags: New York