Published On: Fri, Sep 12th, 2014

Al-Qaeda’s South Asia Wing Claims Pakistan Navy Attack

Al-Qaeda's South Asia Wing Claims Pakistan Navy Attack

Al-Qaeda’s newly established South Asia wing has claimed responsibility for last week’s attack on a naval base in Karachi.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the group led by Asim Umar, a close confidant of Ayman al-Zawahiri, claimed the attack was carried out by its members.

Earlier, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, an umbrella of various insurgent groups in Pakistan known by the acronym TTP, claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.

Two attackers and a naval officer were killed and eight security personnel were injured in two-hour long battle. Four militants were arrested.

Analysts see the fight to claim responsibility for attacks on security installations as evidence of differences between al-Qaeda and the TTP.

Shameem Shahid, a Peshawar-based security analyst, said various TTP splinter groups had embraced al-Qaeda while others worked with both networks.

This dual association, Shahid said, had unleashed a war of domination between different militant networks operating in Pakistan.

The TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan had separately claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack on Karachi airport in June.

Meanwhile, three navy officers have been arrested on suspicion of links to the naval base attack.

A senior navy officer, who asked not to be named, told The Anadolu Agency the arrested officers were from south-western city of Quetta. He did not give details of their ranks or positions.

A navy spokesman later said in a statement that the involvement of navy officers in the attack could not be ruled out. “Investigations are ongoing as various suspects have been taken into custody from different cities,” he said.

Naval sources said 25 to 30 suspects had been arrested in connection with the Karachi attack, including naval officers mostly of lieutenant rank.

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