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Pakistan: Peshawar blast

IS ‘prime suspect’ for Peshawar seminary bombing

Friday 30 October 2020, by siawi3


Peshawar blast


Updated 29 Oct 2020

THE IED blast in Peshawar on Tuesday morning brings to an end a relatively long period without high casualty terrorist attacks in the country. And Pakistanis have once again been reminded that their children are not safe in their places of learning.

At least eight young people died and more than 110 were injured when the device exploded at the Spin Jamaat or White Mosque while students from the nearby Zubbairyah madressah were attending a class there. The instructor was senior cleric Sheikh Rahimullah Haqqani, an Afghan national from Jalalabad whose lecture was being live-streamed when the blast occurred.

A news report in this paper quoted security sources saying it was caused by a sophisticated time bomb that “does not bear the signature of usual suspects like the TTP” and that it could be the work of a new and well-trained group. They further said the large crater left behind in the marble floor indicates the use of a military grade explosive or TNT.

The sheer inhumanity of the attack — targeting a venue full of students with an IED packed with pellets to increase its power to maim and kill — takes one back to Dec 16, 2014, when 143 people, mostly students, were slaughtered by militants at the Army Public School, Peshawar. This time around though, there is some speculation that Sheikh Haqqani may have been the actual target.

The theory is bolstered by the fact that the cleric survived a previous attempt to assassinate him in August 2016, when he was injured in a gun attack suspected to have been carried out by elements of the militant Islamic State group. In a video message he posted after the recent blast, Sheikh Haqqani has indicated that he believes this was yet another attempt on his life by the IS.

While this is a matter for conjecture at least until a claim of responsibility emerges or evidence to support it is found, what is clear is that militants are regrouping and perhaps evolving further into better-trained outfits. The signs have been there for the past several months, with deadly terrorist attacks as well as intelligence-based operations regularly taking place in the tribal districts. The innocent blood spilt in Peshawar on Tuesday illustrates how tenuous is the peace secured after so many years of bloodshed. We cannot afford to take our eye off what is a clear and present danger.



IS ‘prime suspect’ for Peshawar seminary bombing

Bureau Report

Updated 30 Oct 2020

PESHAWAR: The Islamic State, a militant outfit, is the prime suspect for the Peshawar seminary bomb blast in light of initial investigations, the provincial government was informed during a meeting on Thursday.

The high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan was called over the Zubbariyah Madrassah bombing, which had killed eight students and around 120 others injured on Tuesday morning.

A senior official told Dawn requesting anonymity that the participants discussed the threat perception in the wake of the bomb blast and the recent regrouping of the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

He said the chief minister was informed that Zubbariyah Madrassah administrator Sheikh Rahimuddin Haqqani was vocal against the Islamic State and had issued several fatwas (decrees) against it.
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The meeting was also informed that the Sheikh Haqqani, who survived the attack, was on the hit list of the IS, which had attempted to kill him in the past.

Investigators say explosive, timed device used in blast apparently smuggled from Afghanistan

“These things made the IS the prime suspect for bomb attack,” the official said.

He said the initial investigations had revealed that the ‘military grade’ explosive or TNT was used in the timed detonation and both of the explosive and timed device were not available locally and were apparently smuggled from Afghanistan.

The official said after being ‘badly battered’ in Afghanistan, the Islamic Sate seemed to be trying to make for losses by reasserting themselves in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a statement issued here said the meeting was attended by chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, home secretary Ikramullah, Peshawar commissioner Amjid Ali Khan and senior police officials.

The participants were briefed about the current security situation in the province and security arrangements made to prevent terrorist attacks.

The statement said Chief Minister Mahmood Khan declared security of the public life and property the government’s foremost duty and top priority and said there won’t be any compromise on peace in the province and all resources would be utilised for the purpose.Mr Mahmood said the seminary bomb blast was an attempt to spoil the peaceful atmosphere of the province but the government would maintain law and order at all costs.

He directed the police to ensure fool proof security arrangements and further improve their intelligence system to preempt terrorist attacks.

Earlier, seminary administrator Sheikh Haqqani, in a message on Facebook Live, a video streaming feature of the social networking website, had pointed the finger at the Islamic State for the bomb blast.

He, however, didn’t name the militant outfit explicitly.

“Neither it was the first Kharijite attack nor would it be the last one,” the cleric said in the message in an apparent reference to the Islamic State.

He, however, said, “we would not retreat from our mission despite the attack.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of the religious educational boards met the city police’s officials to chalk out a strategy for the security of the local religious schools.

The police officials briefed visitors about the steps being taken for the security of seminaries.

The delegates assured the police of their support and cooperation for maintaining peace and law and order in the city.