Pak link to terror plot against Indian mission in France
From the Times of India and The Hindu
Two months after he was shot dead by French special forces, a 23-year-old Algerian-origin terrorist was found to have been plotting to attack the Indian embassy in Paris on the direction of his Taliban handlers in Pakistan. Quoting sources from the French Internal Intelligence and the Special Forces, Le Monde reported that Mohamed Merah's Taliban handlers in Pakistan had tasked him to attack the Indian mission.
Merah was killed after police and special forces laid an almost 32-hour siege of his apartment in Toulouse, after his armed attacks on a Jewish school and killing of army personnel outside their barracks on March 15. In a videotape found in the apartment, Merah can be seen holding a little girl by her hair, calmly reloading his gun before firing. In another, he tells a soldier: “You kill my brothers, I kill you.”
Leading Paris-based newspaper Le Monde reported on Thursday that Merah told French police he had been tasked to attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. Indian government sources confirmed that embassy security had been tightened in the wake of the French warnings, possibly defeating the plot.
Evidence of Merah's jihadist links had, interestingly, long been available to France. In 2010, Merah was handed over to France after being captured while fighting with jihadists around Kandahar. Yet, he never faced criminal proceedings, and was able to return to Pakistan in 2011— suggesting France's intelligence services allowed him to operate in the hope of gathering more information.
Merah told cops that he had dropped the plan to attack the Indian mission due to difficulty of the enterprise.
More than 80 French nationals are believed to be training in TTP camps around Miranshah and Datta Khel.
New Delhi's intelligence services say Merah's plan to target the embassy in Paris flags the growing threat to India from the al-Qaeda-linked TTP. In 2010, the al-Qaeda's media wing released a posthumous audio message from top jihadist commander Said al-Masri, claiming responsibility for the bombing of the German Bakery in Pune — the first of its kind by the jihadist group.
al-Masri said “the person who carried out this operation was a heroic soldier from the ‘Soldiers of the Sacrifice Brigade,' which is one of the brigades of Qaedat al-Jihad [the al-Qaeda's formal name] in Kashmir.”
Posted on 05/19/2012 3:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax