School carnage mastermind warns of more attacks

Published December 20, 2014
Army soldiers stand outside the auditorium of the Army Public School a day after an attack on the school, in Peshawar, Dec 17, 2014. - AP
Army soldiers stand outside the auditorium of the Army Public School a day after an attack on the school, in Peshawar, Dec 17, 2014. - AP

PESHAWAR: The militant ‘commander’ who supervised the school massacre from afar has threatened more ‘revenge’ attacks, if the military and the intelligence agencies do not stop operations against militants.

In a one-minute-forty-nine-seconds video with English subtitles posted on the website of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Umar Mansoor said the attack on the Army Public School and College at Warsak Road was in retaliation to army’s operation.

Security agencies had intercepted communication between Umar Mansoor, also known as Khalifa Umar and Umar Narey, and the suicide squad during the seven-hour shooting spree at the school that helped identify him as the main handler and the attackers.

Khalifa, TTP’s `commander’ for Peshawar and the arms-manufacturing region of Darra Adamkhel, is head of the Tariq Geedar group. Intelligence traced the call to Afghanistan’s Naziyan district in the neighbouring Nangarhar province.

The TTP spokesman, Mohammad Khurasani, whose real name is Khalid Bilti, said in a statement on Friday that TTP men had been “instructed not to target kids in the primary section of the school”.

“The fidayeen [suicide attackers] were kept informed of these instructions during the attack,” he said, indirectly confirming intelligence reports that the attackers were in communication with their handler during the carnage.

He also indirectly confirmed suspicions that the militants had prior knowledge of the first-aid training session at the school’s main auditorium.

Reuters adds: Six Pakistani Taliban interviewed by Reuters confirmed the mastermind was Umar Mansoor. The 36-year-old father of three and volleyball enthusiast is also known as “Slim”.

Four of them said Mansoor was close to TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah, who ordered assassins to kill Malala Yousafzai.

“He strictly follows the principles of jihad,” one said.

Published in Dawn December 20th , 2014

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