New groups takes credit for Pakistan blast

June 11, 2009 at 2:23 PM
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 11 (UPI) -- A formerly unheard of al-Qaida affiliate claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Pakistan, saying more were pending.

A suicide team opened fire on hotel security guards, driving through the gates of the luxury hotel Tuesday and detonating a massive bomb that destroyed part of the building, killing 17 people in a sophisticated operation.

A previously unknown group calling itself the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was in response to U.S.-inspired attacks by Pakistani military forces on Taliban insurgents in the restive Swat Valley, Pakistani daily The News reports.

Amir Muawiya, a spokesman for the group, phoned media organizations Wednesday claiming responsibility for the attack and promising more were on the way, notably at the BBC offices in Islamabad.

The News says Muawiya is a Taliban commander linked to insurgents operating in the semiautonomous tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan.

The spokesman said his group was now the premier militant organization in the region following a decision by central Taliban and al-Qaida councils, stressing only the Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade would make claims on future attacks.

The organization takes its name from Abdullah Azzam, a Sunni theologian who mentored Osama bin Laden during the 1980s jihad against the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan.

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