Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jordan bomber said CIA attack was "revenge"


DUBAI (Al Arabiya, Agencies)

A Jordanian who blew himself up in Afghanistan, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler, said in a video broadcast on Al Arabiya and other news networks Saturday the act he was planning was for revenge.

"We tell our emir Baitullah Mehsud we will never forget his blood. It is up to us to avenge him in and outside America," Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi said about a Taliban leader killed in a U.S. attack in August.

" We tell our emir Baitullah Mehsud we will never forget his blood. It is up to us to avenge him in and outside America "
Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi

"This is a message to the enemies of the (Muslim) nation -- the CIA and Jordanian intelligence services," said the bearded man in military uniform, identified by as Balawi.

The father of Balawi later confirmed in Jordan that the man shown in the video was indeed his son, and said he had been "manipulated" by several intelligence services which he did not identify.

"My son killed some of those manipulated him," Khalil al-Balawi told AFP in Amman. "He was sucked into the whirlpool of the intelligence services."

"My son was a doctor who saved lives, but he was lured by the intelligence apparatus who changed him enormously," he said of Balawi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin.

Acquaintances alo said Balawi, known by his online name of Abu Dajana al-Khorasani, had flirted with radical Islam after returning home with a medicine degree from Turkey in 2002, when he began poetic and passionate writings on jihadi websites.

His recent writings before he headed to Afghanistan last year showed a growing impatience with not acting on his beliefs.

"When will my words drink from my blood..I feel my words have expired, and to those who preach jihad, I advise you not to fall into my dilemma and the nightmare I have that I may die one day in my bed... ," he said in a recent web posting.

In the video Balawi is shown holding a weapon and sitting alongside another individual wearing an Afghan headscarf with a black banner bearing a Quranic verse in the background.

Double-agent
" God's combatant never exposes his religion to blackmail and never renounces it, even if he is offered the sun in one hand and the moon in the other "
Balawi

According to the U.S. monitoring group IntelCenter, the man sitting next to Balawi is Hakimullah Mehsud, who succeeded Baitullah Mehsud as head of the Pakistan Taliban.

Balawi blew himself up at a U.S. military base in Khost, near the Pakistani border on December 30, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler -- a top intelligence officer and member of the royal family.

Jihadist websites have identified Balawi as a double agent who duped Western intelligence services for months before turning on his handlers.

But a senior Jordanian official told AFP on Wednesday that "Jordan has benefited since a year ago from anti-terrorist information provided by Humam Khalil al-Balawi and shared them with other (intelligence) services as part of the fight against terrorism."

Balawi, apparently referring to his claimed role as a double agent, said: "God's combatant never exposes his religion to blackmail and never renounces it, even if he is offered the sun in one hand and the moon in the other."

"We will never forget that he (Mehsud) said Sheikh Osama bin Laden was not on our soil (Pakistan) but that if he should come we would protect him," the man said.

"He kept his promise and paid for it with his life," he added about Mehsud, the Pakistan Taliban chief killed in U.S. drone attacks last August.

On Thursday, Islamist websites quoted the head of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, as saying the bomber left a will saying the Khost attack was revenge for "our righteous martyrs" and named several top militants killed in drone attacks in Pakistan.

Yazid described Balawi's mission as an "epic breakthrough" in penetrating both American and Jordanian intelligence, said Islamist websites.

The slain militant masterminds named in the will included Mehsud, who was blamed for a wave of deadly attacks, notably the December 2007 killing of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Also named was Abu Saleh al-Somali, described as part of al-Qaeda's core leadership and responsible for plotting attacks in Europe and the United States. He was killed in a drone strike near the Afghan border last month.

The suicide attack at a U.S. military base near the Pakistani border on December 30 was the deadliest attack against the Central Intelligence Agency since 1983.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Friday in Washington that Jordan has a counter-terrorism role in Afghanistan and will enhance its operations there in the future.