ISIS, Pakistani Taliban Both Claim Responsibility for Hospital Bombing that Killed at Least 70; ISIS Claims Confiscation of US Military Gear; Pakistan Attacked Again
A hospital in Quetta, Pakistan was targeted by a suicide bomber on Monday, killing at least 70 and injuring at least 112.
Rather than patients, the victims were apparently “mostly lawyers and journalists,” who were gathered to transport the body of Bilal Anwar Kasi, a lawyer fatally shot earlier on Monday. (Independent of UK)
The terrorist faction responsible for the slaughter is unclear; Independent reports:
Both Isis and a faction of the Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Amaq news agency of Islamic State would be a particularly pernicious perpetrator, if their claim is sincere:
“A martyr from the Islamic State detonated his explosive belt at a gathering of justice ministry employees and Pakistani policemen in the city of Quetta,” Amaq said in a statement.
The Independent notes that Pakistan has been largely attacked from local militants, and the Islamic State extending the caliphate’s reign of terror would seem to be a new development.
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar is a Pakistani Taliban chapter, sworn to serve ISIS in 2014 but more recently apparently fighting for ISIS’ rival, Taliban:
“The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar (TTP-JA) takes responsibility for this attack, and pledges to continue carrying out such attacks,” spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said in a statement.
Jamaat-ur-Ahrar was added to the US’ list of global terrorists last week, triggering sanctions against the group.
Sanctions are an important step because they eliminate American spending to fund terrorist organizations. America flooded Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars in “sanctions relief” earlier this year to sweeten the “nuclear deal,” as we have reported:
Iran’s New Partners in Terrorism
Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.
Quetta is the provincial capital of Baluchistan. Mr. Kasi was the president of Baluchistan Bar Association, according to the Independent.
The subsequent suicide attack appeared to target [Kasi’s] mourners, said Anwar ul Haq Kakar, a spokesman for the Baluchistan government.
“It seems it was a pre-planned attack,” he said.
Meanwhile, USA Today reported ISIS may have seized some American military equipment (adding to their stockpile of weaponry and gear the U.S. has placed in the hands of anti-ISIS fighters, which ended up in the hands of ISIS):
The Islamic State group is circulating photos of potentially sensitive American military equipment and identification cards purportedly confiscated by militants after recent battlefield engagements in Afghanistan.
The photos show a variety of weapons, ammunition, communications gear and accessories. Perhaps the most chilling image is a closeup of someone holding two ID cards belonging to a U.S. soldier, Spc. Ryan Jay Larson.
Henrietta Levin, a U.S. Defense Department spokeswoman:
“We are aware of erroneous reports that U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Jay Larson was captured by ISIL [sic] in Afghanistan. These reports are false. He has been accounted for and remains in a duty status within his unit. We are looking into how he lost possession of his ID but can confirm he has been accounted for with his unit.”
Levin provided no additional details about the photographs and declined to address several questions submitted by Military Times.
A White House official referred questions to the Defense Department.
Retired Marine Corps officer Fred Galvin told USA Today that the items pictured by Amaq on ISIS social media are concerning for an abandoned American military installation:
Among the items is a M72 rocket launcher and a spare barrel for an M240 machine gun. There are 40mm grenades, a hand grenade and smoke grenades, and numerous 5.56mm rifle rounds and bigger 7.62mm rounds, which are fired from M240s and sniper rifles.
There’s a ruck sack, some body armor, knee pads, eye goggles, gauze, tourniquets and other medical supplies, a multiband radio and flex cuffs used to detain bad guys. Some of the gear appears to be standard issue, Galvin said, while other items are used only by “more advanced” military units.
“From the looks of all of this,” Galvin said, “it appears (the perpetrators) may have hit a fixed position. Maybe they ran across an observation post, or a site where guys were sleeping, bedding down. You can’t tell 100%. But it does look like someone was caught in a hasty attack. If they knew they were going to be attacked like that, they would have been wearing their body armor.”
(USA Today; our emphasis)
Body armor is an essential Federal Government agency (non-Defense) item in the Homeland as well:
EPA Spends $200,000 on Body Armor to Prepare For Changing Climate
Galvin added, noting the global American military presence:
“Americans have been in Nangarhar for years. All of that equipment could have been bought in a local bazar. It’s possible this is just a deception operation. ‘Hey look. We attacked them. We destroyed them.’ It could be a complete ruse.”
Additionally, “ten civilians and four security officials were injured, with two in critical condition,” in a roadside bomb attack apparently targeting an Anti-Terrorism Force escort of Federal Shariat Court Justice Zahoor Shahwani in Quetta yesterday. The judge was unharmed, according to Balochistan Home Minister Sarfaraz Bugti via Dawn. It is unclear if ISIS or Taliban was involved.
[All emphasis is ours.]
Thanks to our sources: