Pakistan: Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto's death
“We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.
It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.
Death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and ultimately one cell comprising a defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer succeeded in killing Bhutto.
Bhutto had just addressed a pre-election rally on Thursday in the garrison town of Rawalpindi when the bomb went off.
She had come to Rawalpindi after finishing a rapid election campaign, ahead of the January polls, in Pakistan's volatile North West Frontier Province (NWFP) where she had talked about a war against terrorism and al-Qaeda.
Reports say at least 15 other people were killed in the attack and several others injured.
As news of Bhutto's death spread throughout the country, there are reports that people have taken to the streets to protest the death of the leader of the PPP, which has the largest support of any party in Pakistan.
In the southern port city of Karachi, Bhutto's hometown, residents reportedly threw stones at cars and burnt tyres.