- Pakistan - suicide bombing - Taliban
AFP - A spokesman for Pakistani Taliban linked to Al-Qaeda on Friday claimed responsibility for two suicide attacks that killed at least nine people in a luxury hotel in Peshawar and a cleric in Lahore.
"We attacked Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar because foreigners were coming here and were making conspiracies against Islam and Taliban," Maulvi Omar, spokesman for Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.
The spokesman also took responsibility for another suicide car blast in the northwestern city of Nowshera earlier in the day in which four people were killed and 105 others wounded.
The much-feared TTP is headed by the country's most wanted militant Baitullah Mehsud.
"We also accept the responsibility of suicide attack on Sarfraz Naeemi", an anti-Taliban cleric, killed on Friday by a suicide bomber along with his deputy, Omar added.
"Anyone who will oppose us to please the Americans will face the same fate. The people favouring America are our enemies. Our aim is to enforce the Islamic law in the country," the spokesman said.
The United States has offered an award of five-million-dollars for the location or arrest of Mehsud, described by the US State Department as a senior leader of Tehrik-e-Taliban, the Taliban Movement of Pakistan.
Mehsud is regarded as a key Al-Qaeda facilitator in the tribal areas of South Waziristan in Pakistan.