A group of fighters from the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), an al Qaeda-affiliated group, recently sent a message to Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in Somalia, thanking them for damaging the Chinese embassy in Somalia.
The Chinese embassy was damaged in the July 26 attack on the Jazeera hotel in the capital of Mogadishu. At least one Chinese embassy worker was killed in the attack and many others were wounded. Shabaab used a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, or a suicide car bomb, to detonate near the hotel after ramming the gates of the complex. A Shabaab spokesman told Reuters that the bombing was in response to “attacks and helicopter bombing against al Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali government.” [See LWJ report, Shabaab targets Jazeera hotel in Mogadishu.]
However, according to the statement from the TIP, which has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, the group claims the attack was a “practical response to the aggression of the communist government of China against the Muslims in the forgotten Islamic East Turkistan.” The statement, which was posted to Twitter, continues by saying, “We the mujahideen in Turkistan Islamic Party congratulate the Islamic Ummah for this blessed operation, and we endorse it, and we encourage the Shabaab al Mujahideen Movement in Somalia to carry out more of such jihadi operations.”
The TIP is largely made up of ethnic Uighurs and fights with the aim of creating an Islamic state in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. It operates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and Syria. It fights alongside the Taliban, al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while in Syria, it fights alongside the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in the country. The TIP’s leaders and fighters have been killed by Coalition forces in Afghanistan and by US drone strikes in Pakistan.
Several top leaders of the TIP have held senior roles in al Qaeda’s leadership. For example, Abdul Shakoor Turkistani, the former emir of the group, was also appointed by al Qaeda to lead its forces in Pakistan’s tribal provinces. [See LWJ report, Turkistan Islamic Party leader thought killed in US drone strike.]
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