Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pakistan Taliban chief vows new attacks on US: SITE

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was believed killed in January, vowed attacks on the United States in a new video apparently made last month, the SITE monitoring group said Monday.

Mehsud threatened to retaliate against the United States within a month for the killing of Islamist militant leaders, according to a transcript of the video alleged to have been made on April 4, SITE reported.

"The time is very near when our fidaeen (soldiers) will attack the American states in the major cities," said Mehsud, who was seen flanked by two armed and masked men in the nine-minute video.

Mehsud was reported to have been killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan in January, but some reports last week quoted Pakistani intelligence officials as saying he had survived the attack.

Another video allegedly from Mehsud's Tehreek-e-Taliban issued on Sunday claimed it was behind an attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square at the weekend, although the credibility of the claim has been questioned.

If the TTP claim was authenticated, it would be the first attack by the TTP against a target in the United States.

Mehsud assumed leadership of the group blamed for the deaths of thousands of people in attacks across Pakistan after his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a US drone strike in August last year.

The United States had been eager to retaliate against Mehsud after he claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a Central Intelligence Agency base in eastern Afghanistan in December that killed seven Americans.

Mehsud said the TTP would attack the United States "for having martyred many of our great Muslim leaders including Baitullah Mehsud and many respected brothers from Al-Qaeda," SITE reported.

"Our fidaeen have penetrated the terrorist America, we will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America."

Mehsud 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."