Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 4 Issue: 25
SUICIDE ATTACKS SPREAD TO ISLAMABAD
In the wake of the Pakistani government’s security operation against Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), suicide bombers have begun to strike the capital. On July 27, a suicide bomber killed at least 14 people at Islamabad’s Aabpara market. As part of the attack, the bomber used five to seven kilograms of explosives (Dawn, July 27). Only 10 days before, on July 17, another suicide bomber struck in the heart of the capital, killing 18 people (Daily Times, July 29). Terrorism Focus reported on July 10 that “Pakistani residents fear that the current security operations against the Red Mosque will spark a wave of suicide attacks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.” Since the Lal Masjid operation, more than 125 people have been killed throughout Pakistan—especially in the tribal regions (Dawn, July 27). On July 29, the Daily Times warned that “the federal capital is likely to suffer from more suicide bombings as around 600 suicide bombers are hiding in madrassas and mosques within and around the limits of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.” The paper also claimed that the former prayer leader of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, told his interrogators that the military’s persistent attacks against religious militants will only spark an “unending bloodbath throughout the country.”
MEXICO INSTALLS RADAR SYSTEM TO PROTECT ENERGY FACILITIES
The Mexican Navy has begun installing a radar system in the Bay of Campeche to protect against terrorist attacks. The five-part radar system will be able to detect intrusions by air, sea, or land in restricted areas, according to July 23 report by the Mexican news agency Notimex. The head of the Mexican Navy Secretariat, Admiral Mariano Francisco Saynez Mendoza, explained that the system will be complemented by Operation Sonda Three, which, according to Notimex, “will include frigates and interceptor and missile patrol boats that will be making runs continuously, as well as helicopters and marines.” The Bay of Campeche is home to Mexican oil installations, which the government is keen to protect from possible sabotage or destruction by al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists or other left-wing armed groups inside Mexico. Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have, in the past, threatened Mexico’s energy facilities on the basis that such an attack would drive up global oil prices and weaken the U.S. economy.
MAULANA FAZLULLAH TONES DOWN RADIO PROPAGANDA
Controversial Pakistani cleric Maulana Fazlullah is well-known in Swat district in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) due to his expertise in launching illegal FM radio stations that broadcast his religious propaganda. His activities have earned him the nickname “Maulana Radio,” and he regularly pushes an anti-Western and anti-modernist campaign. The Pakistani government has, in the past, tried to suppress Fazlullah, but his supporters have repelled the authorities on a number of occasions (Terrorism Focus, March 6). However, according to a July 28 report in Islamabad’s The News, a 20-member tribal jirga convinced Fazlullah on July 27 to tone down his aggressive radio transmissions. The jirga asked Fazlullah to only speak about religious education issues, rather than make political statements. Fazlullah agreed to the arrangement, and claimed that he wanted peace in Swat. Pakistan analyst Hassan Abbas attributed Fazlullah’s decision to his desire to “survive” in the wake of the killing of Taliban commander Abdullah Mehsud on July 24 and the army’s July 10 Red Mosque operation.