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TTP claimed responsibility for the suicide attack of an imambargah in Rawalpindi

11 January, 2015

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ISLAMABAD: Jamatul Ahrar, a splinter group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), on Saturday 10,January,2015 claimed responsibility for the suicide attack outside an imambargah of Rawalpindi, which killed at least eight people and injured 17.

Sources in law enforcement agencies claimed that the attack, as initial investigation suggests, seemed to be of sectarian nature and carried out by Jamatul Ahrar.

The investigators are also probing into the possibility that the deadly attack could be the result of close coordination between the TTP group and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The investigation on LeJ's involvement has been started on a tip-off mobile call from suburbs of Rawalpindi.

The officials also pointed to the fact that the imambargah that was suicide attacker's target in Chittian Hattian is located in the same area where some ten people had lost their lives in a deadly sectarian clash on Muharram 10 in November 2013 when a confrontation between the Taleemul Quran seminary and the Muharram procession resulted in full-blown riots in Rawalpindi.

Moreover, the sources said some terrorists of LeJ were hanged recently and their top commander Ikramul Haq alias Akram Lahore had a narrow escape as a result of so-called settlement between the killer and one of his victims' families. Following this, Lahori's execution was halted a few minutes before he was scheduled to be hanged.

"‘LEJ's terrorists are in hot water and this terror outfit might stage terror attacks in a desperate attempt to pressurise the government against the executions," a top official of Rawalpindi Police said, requesting anonymity.

"The LeJ knows that sooner or later Lahori would be hanged. He has more than 28 murder cases registered against him. With so much blood on his hands, he can't escape death even if one or two families forgive him and that too out of fear of LeJ," the official argued.

The source also pointed that LeJ would previously carry out targeted killings of Shias in hit-and-run attacks. "They would use motorbikes to flee after spraying bullets on renowned or well-placed Shia personalities using AK47s. Now their methods have changed.

They have taken inspiration from TTP and trained their men to stage suicide attacks," the source mentioned.

Whether the Friday attack was the result of coordination between the TTP and LeJ is yet to be ascertained, the police official said.

"We claim responsibility of the attack on the imambargah and vow to continue such attacks against enemies of Islam," spokesman of Jamatul Ahrar faction of TTP, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said in an email to media, including Daily Times. "We want to make it clear to these infidel rulers that we will not be impressed by any of their laws or hangings," the email said.

The FIR of blast at the imambargah in Rawalpindi's Chittian Hattian area was registered at the Waris Khan Police Station on Saturday. Regional Police Officer (RPO) Rawalpindi Akhtar Umer Hayat Lalika has ordered to set up a Joint Investigation Team (JIT), headed by SP Rawal Town, to probe the incident and submit its report within 14 days.

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