A commander of the outlawed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) told The Express Tribune on Thursday that the deadly attack on the Sukkur office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was orchestrated by the militant group.
He said that elements of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) based in Mohmand tribal region and Punjab had mounted the coordinated assault on the premier spy agency’s Sukkur office on Wednesday.
Speaking on condition of anonymity from an undisclosed location, the TTP commander rejected the claim by a splinter Taliban faction, which also accepted responsibility for the same attack.
A man named Ahmed Marwat, who introduced himself as the spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Jundullah Group), had called media persons to claim credit for the brazen assault.
Marwat had claimed that the attack was a revenge for the death of the TTP deputy chief Wali-ur-Rehman Mehsud, who died in a US drone strike in North Waziristan tribal region in May. He said the group had sent four bombers to “achieve the target.”
Following Wednesday’s attack, a Rangers spokesperson said there were at least five attackers and that they had killed at least three of them, while at least two suicide bombers had blown themselves up.
The TTP Jundullah group had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack on security forces.
However, TTP’s former spokesperson, Ehsanullah Ehsan, has denied the association of Jundullah group with the Taliban.
There has been no independent verification on who was responsible for the attack.
Meanwhile, a bomb disposal expert said on Thursday that approximately 500 kg of explosives were used in the suicide assault on ISI office in Sukkur, which left a 22 feet wide and 6 feet deep crater outside the agency’s office.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Sukkur Bomb Disposal Squad In-charge Inspector Tahir Malik also said that the squad found six live grenades, which were successfully defused.
Sources said when the explosives-laden Suzuki pickup was dashed into the main gate of the ISI office, the officials were breaking their fast. However, responding to the call of duty, they came out of their houses and sacrificed their lives in an exchange of fire with the terrorists, who hurled hand grenades and fired at the forces.
According to the agency sources, three ISI officials – its assistant director Major Zeeshan, Naiks Abdul Aziz and Mohammad Asif – laid down their lives in the fight.
Major Zeeshan was the assistant director in the ISI and was posted in Sukkur last year. He hailed from Sialkot and has left a widow in mourning.
Ehsan Ali Korai, who is said to be the brother of a gardener in the commissioner house, was also killed in the blast, while his son Mohammad Khan was injured. Besides causing extensive damage to the ISI office, the huge bomb blast caused partial damage to the residences of commissioner and the DIG as well.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the bodies of the ISI officials were taken to Pano Aqil cantonment, where their funeral prayers were offered before they were dispatched to their native towns. The funeral prayer of Ehsan Ali Korai, offered in Microwave Colony Sukkur, was attended by a large number of people.
The high-profile neighborhood, housing the ISI office, the Circuit House and residences of commissioner and deputy inspector general (DIG), was cleared of the terrorists and live ammunition by early morning of Thursday. Repair work of fallen electric poles and transformers was under way.
Sukkur Barrage Chief Engineer Ahmed Junaid Memon said that after the incident, the barrage security had been stepped up and the DIG police and Rangers had been asked to increase deployment.
No case has been registered at the area police station till filing of this report.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2013.
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