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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Al Qaeda Threatens India Directly

Al Qaeda warns India of Mumbai like raids
Tue, 10 Feb 2009 14:17:43 GMT

A top al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan has warned India of last year’s ‘Mumbai-style terror strikes’ if it attacks Pakistan.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who was believed to have been killed in Afghanistan, has reappeared in a video message saying that “India should know that it will have to pay a heavy price if it attacks Pakistan.”

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“We will bring mujahedin and suicide attackers from all over the world to confront you,’ he said, adding that “We will target your economic centers and raze them to the ground,” he said in a 20-minute video received by the BBC in Islamabad.

The militants’ commander also called on Pakistanis to overthrow their government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated former Premier Benazir Bhutto.
Indian intelligence officials say warnings released by the Al Qaeda leader to strike India are not new.

“We will examine the video closely as it is in Arabic. But such threats are not new. There have been earlier threats as well but the security regimen which is in place now shows that our forces are on high alert,” said a top Indian intelligence official who was not identified.
Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad have been strained since militants killed 179 people in the November attacks on India’s financial capital.

India blamed the banned Pakistan-based militants for the raids and said the perpetrators were “clients and creations” of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
Islamabad authorities have denied any involvement by state agencies and have been investigating the Mumbai siege.

India’s defense minister A. K. Antony said in the wake of the warning from the al-Qaeda commander that New Delhi was capable of facing any threat to its security coming from any quarter. “One thing I can tell you. Whatever threat coming from any quarter, our armed forces are always ready to face them.”

The al-Qaeda warnings come after the Pentagon reports said that Abu-al-Yazid had been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan last year.
Earlier in August, Pakistani media outlets had reported that he had been killed in fighting with Pakistani army in the troubled Bajaur tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid

The insurgents’ commander has been linked to last year’s Danish embassy bombings in Islamabad, and had claimed responsibility for assassinating Bhutto.

Al Qaeda top leaders are believed to be hiding in tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where their Taliban allies have strongholds. The insurgents have regrouped along the shared border between Pakistan and Afghanistan after a US-led invasion in late 2001 toppled
Taliban in Afghanistan and sent militants to border areas with Pakistan.

The spread of violence from Afghanistan to the whole South Asian region comes seven years after US-led forces under former president George W Bush’s war on terror doctrine invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to eradicate insurgency and terrorism.

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