Pakistani Taliban chief 'warns of US attacks' / VIDEO

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, claimed killed in a CIA drone aircraft attack has appeared in Internet videos warning attacks in US.

Pakistani Taliban chief 'warns of US attacks' / VIDEO

The leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, claimed killed in a CIA drone aircraft attack in January, has appeared in Internet videos warning attacks in the United States.

The tapes were posted shortly after the Pakistani Taliban said it was "responsible" for an failed car bomb attack in New York's Times Square on Saturday evening.

"The time is very near when our Fedayeen (fighters prepared to sacrifice themselves) will attack the American states in their major cities," warned Mehsud, who said the video was recorded on April 4, 2010.

"Our Fedayeen have penetrated the terrorist America. We will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America," said Mehsud, who was seen flanked by two armed and masked men in the video released by the SITE and IntelCenter monitoring groups.

"Inshaallah (God willing) very soon in some days or a month's time, the Muslim ummah (world) will see the fruits of most successful attacks of our fedayeen in USA," Mehsud said.

"Claim dismissed"

He made similar remarks in an audio message in another TTP video Monday that was apparently recorded on April 19 and features Mehsud's face next to a map of the United States showing multiple explosions across the country.

US officials initially dismissed the TTP claim of responsibility, which also met with scepticism in Pakistan, where the faction's capability had been seen as dented following military offensives and US drone attacks.

Mehsud, bearded and with long hair, also warned members of NATO and other allies to abandon the United States, telling them: "You will face even worse humiliation, destruction and defeat than America itself."

A Pentagon spokesman had said last week that it was unclear if Mehsud was dead or alive, but that he was no longer running the TTP.

Rahimullah Yusufzai, one of Pakistan's most prominent experts, dismissed the claim of the attempted New York bombing as a vain attempt at recognition.

Rahimullah Yusufzai said, "the TTP is fighting a do or die battle against the Pakistan Army. And they want to embarrass the Pakistan Army and government in whatever way they can. So it helps them to claim a terrorist attack in the U.S."

But the group surprised observers with its apparent involvement in a suicide bomb attack near Khost in eastern Afghanistan on Dec. 30. That strike killed seven U.S. CIA agents in the second worst attack in the spy agency's history.

Hakimullah Mehsud appeared in a farewell video with the Jordanian double agent who carried out the operation.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said there was "no evidence" to support the Taliban's claim.

Pakistani security officials dismissed it as a propaganda.

"It's a media stunt. We know and the world knows their ability and capacity," said a Pakistani security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Man in camera"

A total of three Taliban tapes were released -- two from Mehsud and one from Qari Hussain, a Pakistani Taliban leader.

"Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan takes responsibility for the attack in America with pride and valour. We also congratulate Muslims on this attack," said Hussain in an audio recording that did not refer specifically to the Times Square incident.

Police found the car bomb, which was defused on Saturday evening, in a sport utility vehicle when the area was packed with tourists and theatre-goers.

Mehsud was widely believed to have been killed by a U.S. missile strike in South Waziristan in January but on April 29, Pakistani intelligence officials said they believed he was alive.

Kelly said a white man in his 40s was spotted in security video footage about half a block from where the vehicle was left on Saturday evening with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.

In about 19 seconds of video released by police, the man, who appears to be thin, is seen removing a dark shirt, stuffing it into some sort of bag and walking away down the sidewalk, carrying the bag and glancing at least twice over his shoulder.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there was no evidence of a link to al Qaeda or any other militant organization in the failed bomb attack that prompted the evacuation of the teeming entertainment and shopping district.

"It's unfortunate that this happened. I'm confident that we will find out who did it," Bloomberg told reporters outside a Times Square restaurant.


Agencies

Last Mod: 03 Mayıs 2010, 14:07
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