Pakistan Taliban deny New York car bomb claim (Lead)

May 3rd, 2010 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 3 (DPA) Pakistani Taliban Monday said they were not aware of a video attributed to them claiming responsibility for the failed car bomb in New York late Saturday.
The US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks activities of terrorist groups on internet, claimed Sunday it had discovered a video posted by a group linked with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on video-sharing website Youtube.

The video purported to show the insurgents taking responsibility for the attempted attack, saying it would have been retribution for the deaths of former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and two Islamist militant leaders killed in April in Iraq.

“We don’t know about this video. As far as I know none of our people have posted it. We have no information about it,” TTP’s chief spokesman Azam Tariq said.

The failed car bomb was discovered Saturday in New York City’s famous Times Square. Smoke emanated from a car packed with propane and gasoline tanks and powder, but there was no explosion.

Pakistani intelligence officials also expressed scepticism that the local Taliban had the capacity to carry out attacks in the US.

“They want to take responsibility for whatever bad happens in the world just to show that they are still active, when they are severely under pressure from Pakistani operations in tribal region,” said an official from military’s Inter Services Intelligence agency.

Around 150,000 Pakistani military and paramilitary troops are fighting Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan’s tribal region near Afghan border and adjoining Pakhtunkhwa-Khyber, formerly known as North West Frontier Province.

A recent offensive killed hundreds of Hakimullah’s fighters in their South Waziristan bastion and forced thousands more to flee to other districts or to Afghanistan.

The Taliban spokesman said that a second video where leader Hakimullah Mehsud threatened strikes on US soil is genuine.

That video, spotted by IntelCenter, another US based terrorism internet watchdog, showed Hakimullah alive for first time since his alleged death in a US strike early this year.

Mehsud, in the nine-minute video released Sunday by the TTP, said the “time was very near” when his fighters would attack main US cities, the IntelCenter said Monday.

“Our fedayeen (fighters) have penetrated the terrorist America, we will give extremely painful blows to the fanatic America,” he said in the video, which was allegedly recorded April 4.

“IntelCenter analysis indicates that this video is credible and an official release from the TTP’s [Tehrik-e-Taliban] Umar Studio,” IntelCenter said.

Mehsud was reported killed in a US bombing in late January, but Taliban denied those reports.

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