Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters just before they behead a Pakistani Shia. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
The al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) published a gruesome video on jihadist internet forums that shows the beheading of two Shiites. In a statement that accompanied the video on one of the forums, a jihadist said the Pakistani terror group is part of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
The video, titled “Revenge,” was released today, first on the Jamia Hafsa Urdu forum and then distributed on other jihadist forums, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained the video.
In the video, two Shia men are filmed for nearly half an hour before they are brought outside and seated on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs. Standing behind them are four masked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters; two are holding a red banner with crossed swords.
Two of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters then pull out knives, and proceed to behead the two Shia men. The victims’ heads are then placed on their laps. The jihadists then wipe their knives on the clothes of the slain men.
A jihadist on the Hanein forum, who posted in Arabic, said the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi “is allied to Taliban-Pakistan and has a close relationship with it,” according to SITE, which translated the message.
“Most of the operations against the Shi’ites [in Pakistan], if not all of them, are carried out by this group,” the jihadist continued.
He also said the group carried out a suicide attack in Afghanistan against Shia last year, presumably a reference to the Dec. 6, 2011 attack that killed more than 50 Shia worshipers outside a mosque in the capital of Kabul. The Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi al Almi claimed credit for that attack [see LWJ report, Suicide bomber kills scores in attack at Kabul mosque].
The jihadist at the Hanein forum also said that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi “is the Omar Brigade of Taliban-Pakistan as the Omar Brigade of al Qaeda Organization targeted Badr Brigade and others among the [Shi’ites].”
The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is an anti-Shia terror group that has integrated with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has an extensive network in Pakistan and serves as al Qaeda’s muscle for terror attacks. The group has conducted numerous suicide and other terror attacks inside Pakistan. In particular, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is well known for carrying out sectarian terror attacks against minority Shia, Ahmadis, Sufis, and Christians in Pakistan.
The US designated the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2003. In 2010, the US added two of the terror group’s top leaders, Amanullah Afridi and Matiur Rehman, LeJ’s operations chief, to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
In February 2010, the US killed Qari Mohammad Zafar, a senior Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader as well as a leader of the al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Fedayeen-i-Islam, in a drone strike in North Waziristan. Zafar was behind multiple terror attacks in Pakistan and was wanted by the US for murdering a consular official in Karachi.
Although Pakistan has added Lashkar-e-Jhangvi to its list of terror groups, it has been lax in dealing with the terror group and LeJ’s parent organization, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. Last year, a Pakistani court ordered the release of Malik Ishaq, a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader who is thought to have been involved in the March 3, 2009 assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, among other attacks. While Ishaq was supposedly in prison from 1997 until July 2011, he plotted numerous terror attacks in Pakistan.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.