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A top Pakistani Taliban commander took credit for yesterday’s failed car bomb attack in New York City.
Qari Hussain Mehsud, the top bomb maker for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, said he takes “fully responsibility for the recent attack in the USA.” Qari Hussain made the claim on an audiotape accompanied by images that was released on a YouTube website that calls itself the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel.
The tape has yet to be verified, but US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe it is legitimate. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel on YouTube was created on April 30. Officials believe it was created to announce the Times Square attack, and Qari Hussain’s statement was pre-recorded.
All indications are the tape is legitimate. YouTube has pulled the video and shut down the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan News Channel since this article was published.
|Qari Hussain Mehsud. Image is from a Pakistani Army wanted poster.|
“This attack is a revenge for the great & valuable martyred leaders of mujahideen,” Qari Hussain said. He listed Baitullah Mehsud, the former leader of the Pakistani Taliban who was killed in a Predator strike in August 2009, and Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the former leader of al Qaeda Islamic State of Iraq who was killed by Iraqi forces in mid-April. And although he was not mentioned, an image of Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was also displayed in the images accompanying the audiotape.
Qari Hussain also said the failed attack was “revenge for the Global American interference & terrorism in Muslim countries, especially in Pakistan for Lal Masjid operation,” a reference to the July 2008 Pakistani military assault on Islamists holed up in the Red Mosque in Islamabad, as well as Predator strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas and the arrest and detention of Pakistani scientist Aifa Siddique.
Qari Hussain warned NATO that it must denounce the US and apologize for “the massacres in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistani tribal areas otherwise be prepared for the worst destruction and devastation in their regions.”
At the opening of the tape, the failed car bomb was described as a “jaw-breaking blow to Satan USA,” however Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the device, which failed to detonate, as “amateurish.”
The car bomb was discovered Saturday evening after a street vendor spotted smoke coming from a Nissan Pathfinder SUV and alerted police.
The bomb squad was dispatched to the scene and discovered a crude bomb made of “three canisters of propane like those used for barbecue grills, two five-gallon cans of gasoline, consumer-grade fireworks … and two clocks with batteries,” The New York Times reported.
Police currently do not have a suspect. The license plate is not registered to the Nissan, and the vehicle identification number has been removed. Police are also looking at video from surrounding stores to see if they can determine anything about the identity of the bomber.
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