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Sep 20th, 2008

Al-Qaida 9/11 Video Warns of Afghan Attacks

September 19, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt — Al-Qaida threatened major new attacks in Afghanistan and dismissed setbacks in Iraq, vowing to continue its fight in a video marking the Sept. 11 attack, released Friday more than a week after the anniversary. …

The 90-minute video, titled “The Results of Seven Years of Crusades,” … features speeches by bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and other top figures in the terror network, as well as the final testament of Ahmed al-Ghamdi, one of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attack. …

In the video, al-Qaida’s top commander in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed, said the “mujahedeen (holy warriors) are on the increase day after day” in that country.

“We inform the forces of the cross and their apostate agents that the mujahedeen’s policy in the coming stage, Allah permitting, is going to be more major, large-scale attacks,” he said …



Huge Suicide Blast at Hotel in Pakistan Capital

Image: Pakistan bombing
Pakistani police carry an injured person from the scene of a huge explosion that ripped through part of the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’s capital on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. (Photo credit: B. K. Bangash / AP)

September 20, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A huge suicide truck bomb devastated the heavily guarded Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’s capital Saturday, killing at least 40 people and engulfing the building in flames in a sickening reminder of the threat in a country vital to the U.S.-led war on terror. …

The five-floor Marriott … served as the de facto back office for the international media during the 2001 war against the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.

Officials said at least 250 people were injured, NBC News reported. … Saturday’s blast appeared to be one of the largest ever terrorist attacks in the country. …

A U.S. State Department official led three colleagues through the rubble from the charred building, one of them bleeding heavily from a wound on the side of his head. …

A senior U.S. counter terrorism official told NBC News that while it is “too early” to say who is responsible for the attack in Islamabad, “the attack bears all the hallmarks of an attack by al-Qaida or al-Qaida associates” like the Taliban. …


3/20/2017 Update

U.S. drone strike kills man behind Marriott Hotel bombing, Pentagon says (Ryan Browne and Faith Karimi, CNN,  March 26, 2017) — A U.S. airstrike in southeast Afghanistan killed an al Qaeda leader responsible for the deadly attack on the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan, the Pentagon said. Qari Yasin was killed in a drone strike in Paktika Province on March 19, the Pentagon said late Saturday. The September 2008 suicide truck bombing at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killed more than 50 people, including two U.S. service members. … Yasin is responsible for other carnage, including an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, which was visiting Lahore, Pakistan, in March 2009. In that incident, gunmen sprayed the team’s tour bus with bullets as it neared the stadium, killing eight people — six police officers and two civilians — and leaving several visiting players wounded. … Full story


Related reports

Bomb a Warning to End Pakistan-US Cooperation

September 20, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The brazen truck-bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad Saturday is a warning from Islamic militants to Pakistan’s new civilian leadership that it should end already-strained cooperation with the United States to pursue al-Qaida and the Taliban, analysts said.

The massive bomb targeting an American hotel chain killed at least 40 people and wounded hundreds, setting a fire that blazed for hours and gutted most of the five-story luxury hotel.

“The attack on the hotel is a message to the Pakistani leadership: End all cooperation with the Americans or pay the price,” said Brian Glyn Williams, associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Massachusetts. “Both sides see Pakistan as a vital battlefield in their global struggle and clearly Pakistani civilians are paying the price for being in the middle of this struggle,” he told The Associated Press. …

Local newspapers are filled with outrage from columnists who accuse the United States of treating Pakistan as a surrogate, flaunting its sovereignty and killing innocents. Civilian casualties from the U.S. assaults have prompted tribesmen in the volatile frontier to threaten revolt. …


Pakistan: Sovereignty Outweighs Terror Fight

Pakistan US
Pakistani protesters burn U.S. flags on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008 to condemn recent U.S. strikes in Pakistani territory near the country’s border with Afghanistan. (Photo credit: Shakil Adil / AP)

September 20, 2008

Pakistan’s new president told lawmakers the nation will not tolerate violations of its sovereignty by “any power” in the name of fighting terrorism, a clear signal to the U.S. to avoid controversial cross-border strikes.

In his first address to Parliament, Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, [said] “We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism.” …

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