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Mehsud claims responsibility for New York bomb plot

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Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud — who till last week was billed as killed in a drone attack in North Western Pakistan in January — put in a video appearance on Monday; claiming responsibility of his Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the attempted car bombing in New York City (NYC) over the weekend and threatening fresh attacks on the U.S.

These threats were held out in two of the three videos uploaded by SITE Intelligence Group. According to the transcript put out on the SITE website, the videos are subtitled in English and bear the mark of Umar Studio, the media arm of TTP.

In a nine-minute video, TTP leader Mehsud — flanked by two armed masked men — has rubbished claims of his death as “propaganda'' and threatened to avenge the martyrdom of Islamist leaders like “Baitullah Mehsud Shaheed” and other “respected brothers from the Al-Qaeda'' by the U.S. And, the “fidayeen'' attack will be on American soil, he warned in the video that was apparently recorded on April 4.

This is followed up by an audio message — said to have been recorded on April 19 — and again attributed to Mehsud.

This video has a map of the U. S. in the background with graphics showing bombs go off but it is not very clear which cities are being targeted.

The third video claims responsibility for the attempted bombing in the Times Square on May 1. This video — posted on YouTube — contains an audio message attributed to Qari Hussein Mehsud, an organiser of TTP's suicide bombing squad.

Hakimullah Mehsud took charge of TTP in August 2009 after Baitullah Mehsud — whom the Pakistan government had held responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — was killed in a drone attack in South Waziristan. While Baitullah Mehsud's death was announced by his own associates, the killing of his successor had never been confirmed by either the American or Pakistan authorities.

And, last week, the British newspaper Guardian — quoting officials in the ISI — had reported that Hakimullah Mehsud had survived the drone attack on his hideout.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 8:39:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Mehsud-claims-responsibility-for-New-York-bomb-plot/article16298039.ece

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