Home>News Center>World

Kidnapper of Chinese claims hotel blast
Updated: 2004-11-01 21:00

Abdullah Mehsud, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate who masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers, has claimed responsibility for a blast last week at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel, a journalist said on Monday.

Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai said Abdullah, the target of a huge manhunt after the kidnapping of the engineers last month, made the claim after contacting him by telephone from an undisclosed location on Sunday.

"We carried out the Marriott bomb blast," Yusufzai quoted him as saying.

An explosion hit the Marriott Hotel on Thursday, injuring seven people, including a U.S. diplomat, two Italians and the Pakistani prime minister's chief security officer.

The government and the hotel immediately said it was not a terrorist attack and was most probably caused by an electrical short circuit.

But the State Department said it believed the blast, which happened while 11 U.S. officials were at the hotel for a dinner, was caused by a bomb and the U.S. embassy has advised its citizens to stay away from the Marriott.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed dismissed Abdullah's claim. "He just wants to play to the gallery, the media," he said. "It was an electrical short circuit."

Intelligence advisory service Stratfor said indications were that the blast was caused by a sophisticated explosive device intended to harm Westerners, U.S. diplomats or the Western hotel chain.

Abdullah had said a U.S. and a British national were killed in the blast, said Yusufzai, who has many years of experience covering Afghanistan. Reuters witnesses saw no such casualties.

Abdullah threatened to carry out more bombings, but did not elaborate, Yusufzai said.

The Pakistani army began hunting Abdullah in the rugged semi-autonomous South Waziristan tribal region near the border with Afghanistan after he masterminded the kidnapping of Chinese engineers on Oct. 9, testing ties with key Pakistani ally China.

One of the hostages and all of the kidnappers, whom Abdullah had directed from a secret location, were killed when Pakistani commandos launched a rescue operation six days later.

Senior Pakistani military officials said last month Abdullah was thought to be in the Spinkai Raghzai area of South Waziristan with other al Qaeda suspects, but was constantly on the move.

South Waziristan has been the scene of fierce clashes between security forces and al Qaeda-linked militants in recent months. Hundreds of al Qaeda fighters, including Chechens, Uzbeks and Arabs, are believed to be hiding in the region.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

China's grain production ends a five-year slide



Top State firms see big profit hikes



Olympic press services begin



Village clash now under control, 7 dead



Efforts to stabilize oil products prices



Rogge: Good Games ahead


  Uruguayans elect first leftist president
  Top Baghdad official shot dead
  Bush, Kerry begin last day of campaigning
  US troops step in after Afghan clash
  Parliament allows Musharraf to remain army chief
  Kidnapper of Chinese claims hotel blast
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?