Pakistani security forces killed five would-be suicide bombers at a checkpoint outside the southwestern city of Quetta earlier today. Three of the suicide bombers were women, and all of those killed appeared to be “foreigners.”
The five terrorists were killed while driving near a Frontier Corps checkpoint in the Kharootabad area just outside of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province. The target of the suicide bomber’s attack is unclear.
“The militants armed with guns and bombs were travelling in a car, police intercepted them but they tried to flee, triggering an exchange of fire. All five attackers have been killed,” Quetta’s chief of police told Dawn.
Several of the terrorists lobbed hand grenades at the security checkpoint, and one of the suicide bombers is reported to have detonated his vest. Pakistani officials believe the attackers were “Uzbek or Chechens.”
“From the appearance of the attackers, it looks they were either Uzbek or Chechens,” a senior security official said, according to SAMAA. “They had hand grenades and bombs strapped to their bodies.”
The terror groups most often associated with Uzbeks and Chechens are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and its splinter group, the Islamic Jihad Group. The term “Chechen” is often used to describe jihadists from Russia’s Caucasus region, or Russian-speaking terrorists. Both groups are based in Pakistan’s tribal areas, specifically in North and South Waziristan.
Quetta is a bastion for the Afghan Taliban and numerous Pakistani terror groups, including the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. The Afghan Taliban’s leadership council, which is known as the Quetta Shura, is based in the provincial capital. Mullah Omar and other top Taliban commanders are known to shelter in Quetta, with the aid and support of Pakistan’s military and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Today’s failed attack is the third major attempt by terrorists in Pakistan since al Qaeda emir Osama bin Laden was killed by US SEALs and CIA operatives at his safe house in Abbottabad. On May 13, more than 80 Frontier Corps and civilians were killed in a suicide attack at a Frontier Corps training center in Charsadda in the northwest. And on May 16, Taliban gunmen killed a Saudi diplomat in an attack in Karachi. The Taliban claimed credit for both attacks.
Elsewhere in Pakistan, the Pakistani Army claimed it captured a senior al Qaeda “commander” known as Muhammad Ali Qasim Yaqub during a raid in Quetta.
Yaqub, who is also known as Abu Sohaib al Makki, is a Yemeni citizen. The Pakistani Army claimed he has been “working directly under al Qaeda leaders along Pak-Afghan borders [sic],” according to the Inter-Service Public Relations press release. Yaqub is a relative unknown; his name has not been mentioned until his capture today.
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