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Al-Qaeda owns up to killing Benazir Bhutto

News18test sharma |

Updated: December 28, 2007, 11:13 AM IST
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Al-Qaeda owns up to killing Benazir Bhutto
A news agency said that al-Qaeda Afghanistan commander and spokesman had telephoned to make the claim.

Washington: The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin Thursday citing an alleged claim of responsibility by al-Qaeda for former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination, a DHS official told CNN.

But such a claim has not appeared on radical Islamist Websites that regularly post such messages from al-Qaeda and other militant groups.

The source of the claim was apparently an obscure Italian news agency, Adnkronos International (AKI), which said that al-Qaeda Afghanistan commander and spokesman Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid had telephoned the agency to make the claim.

"We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen," AKI quoted Al-Yazid as saying.

According to AKI, al Qaeda No 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri set the wheels in motion for the assassination in October.

One Islamist Website repeated the claim, but that Website is not considered a reliable source for Islamist messages by experts in the field.

The DHS official said the claim was "an unconfirmed open source claim of responsibility" and the bulletin was sent out at about 6 pm to state and local law enforcement agencies.

The official characterised the bulletin as "information sharing."

Ross Feinstein, spokesman for Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, said the US intelligence community is monitoring the situation and trying to figure out who is responsible for the assassination.

"We are not in a position to confirm who may be responsible," Feinstein said.

Feinstein said that the intelligence community "obviously analyze(s) open source intelligence," but he would not say whether the community believes the claim has any validity.

For now, he said, there is "no conclusion" as to who may be responsible.

Earlier, DHS spokesman Russ Knocke said Bhutto's assassination had not prompted "any adjustments to our security posture."

"Of course, we continue to closely monitor events as they unfold overseas," he said.

First Published: December 28, 2007, 11:13 AM IST
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