Archive for March 10th, 2010

Five Pakistani staff, including two women Killed by soldiers of Allah for their link in NGO Charity Mission named ‘World Vision’.

March 10, 2010

Rienk van Velzen, World Vision’s regional communications director, told AFP by telephone from the Netherlands that all staff in the office were Pakistani. — Photo by AFP

At least five killed as gunmen attack NGO in Mansehra

PESHAWAR: Militants armed with guns and grenades stormed the offices of a US-based Christian charity in Pakistan on Wednesday, killing five aid workers in an attack blamed on militants.

The gunmen seized the World Vision building near the town of Oghi in the Mansehra district of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have waged a deadly campaign of attacks.

Police and World Vision’s regional spokesman said five Pakistani staff, including two women, were killed and seven other employees wounded when up to 15 gunmen arrived in pick-up vehicles and began firing on the aid workers.

“They gathered all of us in one room. The gunmen, some of whom had their faces covered, also snatched our mobile phones,” said World Vision administration officer Mohammad Sajid, who was in the office at the time.

“They dragged people one by one and shifted to an adjacent room and shot and killed them.”

reports :

U.S. Charity Is Attacked In Pakistan; 6 Are Killed

By ISMAIL KHAN ||Published: March 10, 2010

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Six Pakistani employees of the American Christian charity World Vision were killed Wednesday and seven others were wounded in an attack on the aid group’s offices in a remote village in northern Pakistan. Read details here…..

Rienk van Velzen, World Vision’s regional communications director, told AFP by telephone from the Netherlands that all staff in the office were Pakistani.

“The sad news is that five local colleagues were killed — three male and two female. We have seven colleagues injured,” he said.

The organisation has been operating in the area since October 2005, when aid workers flooded into the northwest after a 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed more than 73,000 people and left about 3.5 million homeless.

But many charities have since left the area, as militant violence has soared. In February 2008, four aid workers with British-based group Plan International were killed in a similar gun and grenade attack in Mansehra town.

Police officials said the militants on Wednesday opened fire and detonated hand grenades at the site near Oghi, about 80 kilometres north of Islamabad, killing the five before disappearing into the hills.

“Police rushed to the area after receiving information about the attack, but the attackers managed to flee,” senior police officer Waqar Ahmed told AFP.

“We chased them, there was an exchange of fire, but the gunmen escaped into the mountains.”

Ahmed blamed the attack on “the same people who are destroying our schools” — a reference to Taliban militants opposed to co-education who have blown up hundreds of schools across the northwest in the past three years.

“Now they want to disturb relief work in quake-hit areas,” Ahmed said.

A wave of suicide and bomb attacks across Pakistan has killed more than 3,000 people since 2007. Blame has fallen on Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants bitterly opposed to the country’s alliance with the United States.

But Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said he was unaware of Wednesday’s attack, telling AFP by telephone: “I have no knowledge about the incident and would not like to offer any comment.”

World Vision’s website describes the group as “a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation” founded by a US priest.

It says the aid group is “inspired by our Christian values”, but stresses that the organisation does not proselytise or make aid conditional on a person’s faith.

The United Nations decided last year to relocate a limited number of its international staff from Pakistan because of security concerns.

The UN’s World Food Programme office in Islamabad was attacked last October, with five aid workers killed in a suicide bombing.

On February 3, a bomb attack in the NWFP district of Lower Dir killed three American soldiers and five other people at the opening of a school just rebuilt with Western funding after a militant attack.

In the northwest tribal belt on the Afghan border Wednesday, police found the bodies of two men accused by the Taliban of spying for the United States.

Courtesy : DawnNews, AFP, The New York Times, and Agencies.

Pak Global Terrorism ::Men seized ‘days before planned attack in Britain’

March 10, 2010

The five Pakistani men had been planning to stage an atrocity in April last year, but were then seized in raids: official. – AP (File Photo)

Men seized ‘days before planned attack in Britain’

Wed, 10 Mar, 2010 | Rabi-ul-Awwal 23, 1431

LONDON — Five Pakistani men linked to a terror plot similar to the attacks on the London transport system in 2005 were arrested days before they planned to strike, a hearing was told Tuesday.

A British intelligence officer, identified only as ZR, told an immigration panel that the group had been planning to stage an atrocity in April last year, but were seized in raids.

ZR compared the alleged plot to the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings on a bus and underground trains in the capital and said they also contained similarities to the 2006 plot to bomb transatlantic jets with liquid bombs.

He refused to reveal details, but said: “The overarching similar fashion was that they were all planning a terrorist attack in the UK under the direction of Al-Qaeda and these were aiming for mass casualties.”

It is the first time the intelligence services have gone on record about why the men were arrested.

Police were forced to hastily bring forward the arrests after London’s Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick accidentally revealed documents with details of the plan to photographers as he entered a briefing.

Abid Naseer, 23, and Ahmed Faraz Khan, who authorities say are a national security risk, are appealing against deportation to Pakistan.

Another three men — Shoaib Khan, Abdul Wahab Khan and Tariq Ur Rehman — have already been sent back to Pakistan and are appealing to return to Britain.

The intelligence agent told the hearing that Naseer exchanged coded emails with an Al-Qaeda operative called Sohaib while planning the attack.

He said the pair used girls’ names to cover their tracks.

Representing Naseer, lawyer Joel Bennathan said his client and Sohaib used women’s names on websites because as Muslim men this was the only way they could access certain sites.

He argued that as the subject of two of the emails was “Sohaib here”, it showed they had nothing to hide.

Bennathan told ZR: “You know, don’t you, that in Pakistan in public, senior figures in the Pakistani government have been saying ‘these boys are innocent, they should be allowed to carry on with their studies’.”

The officer replied: “The claims that these individuals are not involved in terrorism are wrong.”

MI5 claims that in their emails Naseer and Sohaib used people’s names to refer to different explosive materials needed for homemade bombs, but no bomb-making equipment or ingredients were found.

The security services claim Naseer was receiving advice via email on how to make a device.

The five men were arrested during anti-terror raids in Manchester and Liverpool in April last year. The hearing continues Wednesday. – AFP.

Courtesy : AP and AFP.

Lahore car bomb blast kills 14, injures 89

March 10, 2010

Terrorists strike at ‘safe house’ in heart of Lahore : Car bomb blast kills 14, injures 89

LAHORE – A car bomb explosion killed at least 14 people and injured 89 others in Lahore on Monday.

According to reports, a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden truck into the main gate of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) office here.

Witnesses said the FIA building has completely collapsed and a number of people are still buried under the rubble, The Dawn reports.

TV reports said some of the neighbouring buildings had also been damaged in the explosion.

A number of schools and religious institutions are located in the neighbourhood known as Model Town.

A number of prominent politicians, including the former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif live in Model Town.

There was no immediately claim of responsibility for the blast, which came after a lull of several months in attacks on military and security targets in Pakistan’s main cities by Al-Qaeda militants and their affiliates in the Pakistani Taliban.

Meanwhile, security levels have been raised to high alert across the city. ( Source :ANI||Updated by Alertpak))

Terrorists strike at ‘safe house’ in heart of Lahore

LAHORE: A suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle outside the interrogation centre of the Special Investigation Agency (SIA) of the Punjab government in Model Town on Monday morning, killing at least 14 people, among them eight security personnel and a woman, and injuring 89 others.

According to DawnNews death toll from the blast rose to 14 today after more bodies were found from under rubble.

The agency works under the provincial home department.

Police said that about 40 personnel were in the rented building, but no suspects were there when the attack took place.

The banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.

The building in ‘K’ block of Model Town was near a safe house of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in ‘F’ block hit by terrorists in March 2008.

According to some sources, SIU may have been renamed as SIA.

The first attack of its kind in the province during the current year took place at 8.15am.The explosion was so powerful that it killed a woman who lived in a house that was 300 metres away from the blast site. The 40-year-old Saeeda Ghazala was a mother of three. The injured included passers-by, residents of nearby houses and teachers and students of the Quran Academy run by religious scholar Dr Israr Ahmed.

Read more >::>  Lahore bomb unleashes school ‘hell’

LAHORE: Noor Mohammad had just sat down with his classmates in Lahore when a huge car bomb pulverised part of his school and turned his religious studies into a living hell.

An official said 400kgs to 500kgs of explosives had been used.

A trench dug by the authorities and filled with water to secure the SIA cell prevented the attacker from ramming his vehicle into the wall of the building. Although the vehicle was blown up on the road a few feet away from the trench, its impact was devastating.

Police said the blast, which left an eight-foot deep and 15-foot wide crater on the road and whose impact was felt up to several kilometres away, razed the two-storey building. Several houses were severely damaged.

Panic-stricken residents of Model Town and adjoining localities rushed out of their homes as electricity poles and power lines were damaged and supply suspended.

Dr Abdul Jalil Qureshi, who lives in a nearby house, said he felt as if a bomb had landed on his home. “I heard my daughter scream. I came out of the house and saw two people, including a minor, lying dead on the road,” he said.

“This is what we had been fearing might happen because of the presence of the security agency’s offices. There had been protests but the government did not shift such offices from the city.”

An employee of the Quran Academy said the facility had been there for three years and blindfolded people were often brought there. The security around the cell was stifling for people of the area.

The academy’s administrator said Dr Israr and his family escaped unhurt. He said the mosque and adjacent buildings, some of them used as residences, were damaged.

Members of some Christian families living in small houses in the area were also injured.

Rescue 1122 and Edhi ambulances as well as some citizens took most of the injured to Jinnah Hospital and the others to Sheikh Zayed Hospital and General Hospital.

Police found a charred skull, suspected to be that of the bomber, several feet away from the site of the explosion and sent it to a forensic laboratory for reconstruction.

SSP (Investigation) Zulfikar Hameed said the number of the attackers was yet to be ascertained and since apparently there was no CCTV camera at the SIA centre, police would be hard put to make headway.

However, a case under Sections 302 and 324 of the PPC, 7 of ATA and 3/4 of Explosives Act was registered against the unknown suicide bomber and “his two accomplices” on the complaint of an assistant director of the SIA.

Initial police inquiries showed that some witnesses had seen two suspects step off a double-cabin pick-up at the site of the blast moments before the explosion.

SSP Hameed said the bomber reached the spot using a side road. The road in front of the main gate was closed off with barriers and police deployment.

The attack came two days before the by-election for the National Assembly constituency NA-123 in Lahore and a couple of days after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif undertook a seven-hour long tour “without protocol” of the city.

Officials of the Model Town Society said they had written several letters to the Punjab government urging it to relocate offices of the SIA and some other agencies.

Governor Salman Taseer accused the provincial government of going light on terrorist organisations. He said that the Punjab government had released two dangerous terror suspects over the past couple of months. He again criticised Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for pampering members of a banned group in a bid to ensure a good showing in a coming by-election in Jhang.

The chief minister ordered an immediate inquiry and promised help to the victims.

The law minister dismissed the gubernatorial statement as outpourings of a man who was never in his senses.

He said facilities run by sensitive agencies would be shifted out of residential areas after getting clearance from the Special Branch of police.

Punjab police chief Tariq Saleem Dogar told reporters that a decision to shift such offices had been taken some time ago, but the provincial government could not implement it “because of non-availability of alternative places”.

Sailab Mehsud adds from Laddah:

TTP spokesman Azam Tariq claimed responsibility for the strike and said: “If the government does not halt military operation in the tribal area and drone attacks continue, the TTP will continue suicide bombings” at government installations.

AFP adds:

“We have 2,800 to 3,000 more suicide bombers,” he said.
Courtesy: ANI, DawnNews and Agencies.