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3 militant factions claim Pak suicide attack at Wagah Border, death toll 61

Monday, Nov 3, 2014,21:15 IST By metro vaartha A A A

Islamabad | Three militant factions, including splinter groups of the Taliban, have separately claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that took place after the popular flaglowering ceremony at Wagah in Pakistan. At least 61 people, including 10 women, eight children and three security personnel, have died in the attack that took place yesterday when a suicide attacker detonated a powerful bomb at Wagah. AlQaeda affiliated militant group Jundullah (Soldiers of Allah), a splinter group of the TehrikiTaliban Pakistan (TTP), was the first to claim the attack.
Shortly afterwards JamaatulAhrar said its bomber Hafiz Hanifullah carried out the attack. Later, a lesser known Mahar Mehsud group also claimed responsibility for the bombing. JamaatulAhrar on its Twitter page said the attack was a warning to both Pakistan and India and that such an assault could also happen across the border. It refuted claims of other groups owning the attack. JamaatulAhrar also criticised Jundullah as a fake Iranian group.
JamaatulAhrar recently separated from the TehrikiTaliban Pakistan (TTP) after the army launched an operation in North Waziristan in midJune. Led by Omer Khalid Khurasani, it is believed to be capable of lethal attacks. Jundullah was also part of TTP until last year when slain Hakimullah Mehsud led the militants. It is a dangerous group and had been involved in several high profile attacks, including the attack on Crops Commander of Karachi in 2004, murder of 10 climbers in GilgitBaltisitan in 2013 and Peshawar Church bombing of last year.
This group also claimed responsibility of last month’s attack at Maulana Fazlur Rehman who survived the suicide bombing. The Mahar Mehsud group is unknown and may have been prompted to claim responsibility to hit the headlines, analysts said. The conflicting claims show the ongoing war among various militant outfits trying to replace the TTP which has been weakened by military operations and defections. Last month, six important Taliban commanders joined the Middle Eastern group Islamic State (IS). Wagah border bombing was the first major attack in about six months and comes as a wakeup call for authorities which claimed that the Taliban have been weakened after the North Waziristan operation and their command and control system has been demolished.
The attack shows that the threat of militants is far from over and that they still have the most lethal weapon of suicide bombers in their armoury, analysts said.

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