Jundallah, a terrorist group closely tied to al Qaeda and the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, claimed credit for yesterday’s suicide assault on a local headquarters for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) in Sukkur.
The attack included two suicide bombers; one detonated outside a police station, and another outside of the ISID headquarters. A three-man suicide assault team then stormed the ISID compound, and briefly took control of the building before being killed. All five members of the suicide assault team were killed during the attack, along with four ISID personnel, including the office’s deputy director.
Jundallah said it executed the assault to avenge the death of Waliur Rehman Mehsud, the deputy leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan who was killed in a US drone strike in late May, Dawn reported.
Ahmed Marwat, a spokesman for Jundallah, told Dawn that the group “sent four suicide bombers to target the ISI office because the Pakistani Army and ISI are working in connivance with the US.”
Marwat has previously claimed credit for an attack that killed 18 Shia who were traveling on the Karakoram Highway in the Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa [see LWJ report, Jundallah kills 18 Shia travelers in northern Pakistan].
Pakistani jihadist groups have targeted local ISID and military headquarters multiple times in the past throughout Pakistan. ISID offices in Lahore, Peshawar, and Multan have been hit in suicide bombings and assaults since 2009.
Jundallah (“Soldiers of Allah”) is based in Karachi and maintains close ties with both al Qaeda and the Taliban. The group is best known for trying to assassinate General Ahsan Saleem Hyat, commander of the Pakistani Army’s Karachi Corps, in June 2004. Shortly after the assassination attempt, Pakistani security officials arrested Jundallah’s emir, Ata-ur-Rehman, and his deputy, Shahzad Bajwa.
Jundallah also has a history of targeting Shia. The group’s two most high-profile attacks against Shia took place in May 2004, when Jundallah killed 38 Shia worshipers in separate attacks at the Hyderi Mosque and the Jinnah Road Mosque in Karachi.
Jundallah has also established a presence in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of South Waziristan. The terror group is known to have set up a camp in the Shakai area, which is administered by Haji Omar Khan, a senior Taliban leader in South Waziristan who has strong ties to Mullah Omar.
In March 2008, the US killed a dual-hatted Jundallah and al Qaeda operative known as Dr. Arshad Waheed in a drone airstrike in South Waziristan. Both Waheed, who had close links to Ata-ur-Rehman, and Waheed’s brother Akmal, who is also a doctor, had been detained by Pakistani security forces in 2004 for treating Jundallah fighters involved in the assassination attempt on General Hyat. It is unclear why Pakistani security forces freed the brothers. Waheed returned to South Waziristan to serve as a military trainer for al Qaeda’s Shadow Army. After Waheed’s death, Mustafa Abu Yazid, who was al Qaeda’s overall leader in the region before he himself was killed, gave a eulogy for him.
And in June 2010, the US killed Hawza al Jawfi, an Egyptian who is said to have led Jundallah, during a drone strike in the village of Karikot near Wana, the main town in South Waziristan. Jawfi was sheltering in a safe house that was known to have been used by al Qaeda operatives. At the time, the Wana area was administered by Mullah Nazir, a senior Taliban leader who openly professed his allegiance to al Qaeda, and was killed this January in a US drone strike in the Birmal area of South Waziristan.