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Quetta blasts to avenge Qaeda arrests: Taliban

Security personnel cordon off the site of a twin suicide bomb attack in Quetta on September 7, 2011. — Photo by AFP

MIRAMSHAH: The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombs in Quetta Wednesday that killed at least 24 people, saying they were to avenge the arrests of Al Qaeda operatives.

“We carried out the attacks,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP in a phone call from an undisclosed location.

He said the two bombs, which also wounded 82 people, were “to avenge the arrest of our mujahedin brothers by Pakistani security forces in Quetta recently”.

Asked whether he was referring to the arrests, announced Monday, of Younis al-Mauritani — believed to be a senior Al Qaeda leader who had planned attacks abroad — and two others, he said “Yes.”

“We will launch a bigger attack in future,” Ehsan said.

Pakistan said Monday that its forces had arrested al-Mauritani, described as a senior Al Qaeda leader believed to have been responsible for planning attacks on the United States, Europe and Australia.

He was picked up in the suburbs of Quetta — the main town in southwestern Balochistan province, bordering Afghanistan and Iran — along with two other high-ranking operatives after the US and Pakistani spy agencies joined forces.

The twin suicide bombs on Wednesday targeted Pakistan's paramilitary force, the Frontier Corps which was responsible for the capture of the Al Qaeda operatives, police said.

One attacker detonated his bomb-laden car outside the residence of the deputy chief of the Frontier Corps in Quetta city, before a second attacker blew himself up inside the house, said senior police official Hamid Shakil.

The attack on the home of deputy chief Farrukh Shahzad wounded him, killed his wife and injured at least one of his children, security officials said.


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