An explosion at a United Nations office here on Monday killed at least three people and wounded five others.

Among the dead were two Pakistani women and one non-Pakistani. There were foreigners also among the injured.

Police said investigations were still on to find out the nature of the explosion at the office of the World Food Programme, located in a large house on a leafy street in the capital’s F8/3 residential sector.

The explosion took place around 12.15 p.m. Islamabad police chief Tahir Alam said the bomb was likely planted inside the office building, hence the explosion was not a security lapse on the part of the police.

“It was a well-planned blast,” Mr. Alam said. “There are proper security arrangements at the building. Whoever wants to enter the building is checked twice.”

In addition, the WFP office was protected by a wall of high-security sand bags known as HESCO barriers erected between the compound and the building.

But The Hindu has learnt from UN sources that a suicide bombing is not being ruled out.

A CCTV on the premises has captured footage of a man jumping over the boundary wall from the neighbouring house and going into the basement of the WFP office which opens out into the lawn.

The explosion took place in the Finance Department, which is located in the basement.

The sound of the bomb going off could be heard around F-8/3 and windows rattled, but all the damage seemed to be contained inside the building.

Smoke could be seen over the compound for a long time after the blast. Fire engines and ambulances fought for space in the narrow residential street with a media posse. Entry into the building was strictly barred for media.

“There was light and smoke and glass everywhere,” said Dominque Franke Fort, deputy-director of the WFP, who was on the first floor of the building. When he came down, he saw that “some people were not moving, there was lot of damage”.

There is no official word from the UN yet about the bombing. Since the attack on the Marriott in September 2009, all UN organisations based in this country have taken extraordinary security precautions, including barricading their offices behind HESCO barriers, and asking families of non-Pakistani staff to leave the country.

It is not clear how badly the bombing will affect UN operations in this country, but the attack is likely to refocus on the demand of residents of posh Islamabad sectors that diplomatic missions and international organisations that have located their offices in residential sectors are a security hazard and must relocate somewhere else.

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