DUBAI (AFP) – A senior Al-Qaeda operative in an Internet video praised the Islamists who died in clashes with government forces during a raid on a Pakistani mosque earlier this month.
Abu Yahya al-Libi, one of Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Afghanistan, hailed as “martyrs” the pro-Taliban militants who were killed when Pakistani troops stormed Islamabad’s Red Mosque on July 10-11.
“They engraved a page in history, a story of fighting which seldom will be repeated,” Libi said in the video, which was produced by Al-Qaeda’s media wing and provided to AFP on Tuesday by the Washington-based SITE Intelligence Group.
Libi also called for the overthrow of Pakistan’s pro-Western President Pervez Musharraf in the video, which had subtitles in Urdu.
The raid on the mosque killed 86 people — mostly militants — and has sharply heightened tensions with Islamist hardliners in the world’s second-largest Muslim nation.
Musharraf, under international pressure to uproot Islamic militants, has sent thousands of extra troops to Pakistan’s northwest border areas that have become hideouts for Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents from war-torn Afghanistan.