- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2002

From combined dispatches
A Pakistani faction of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network could be responsible for a terrorist attack on the Macedonian Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, Macedonia's Foreign Ministry in Skopje said this week.
The Agence France-Presse news service said the ministry statement condemned the bombing and killing of three Pakistanis in an overnight attack Thursday in the Karachi consulate in southern Pakistan and demanded stepped-up security for the honorary Macedonian consul, Bilal Qureshi, a Pakistani.
"The terrorist act was performed very professionally," the ministry said, adding that it had "unconfirmed information [that] a Pakistani faction of al Qaeda" may have organized the attack.
Associated Press reported from Karachi that slogans on the walls indicated al Qaeda might have been involved.
The three Pakistanis were found after a bomb ripped through the Macedonian honorary consulate about 1 a.m. Thursday. The victims were a Christian security guard, an unidentified woman and an unidentified man, police said.
Doctors at Karachi's Jinnah Medical Center who performed autopsies on the victims said their hands and legs were tied, their mouths gagged and their throats slit.
The weapon used was still in the body of one of the victims, the doctors said.
Mr. Qureshi, brother of former acting Pakistani Prime Minister Moeen Qureshi, was not in the office at the time. He was later quoted as saying only the watchman should have been on the premises.
Police Chief Kamal Shah in Karachi said investigators were considering a number of motives, including the possibility that it was a revenge attack for the killing of a group of Pakistanis by police in Macedonia early this year.
But he added that the explosion and slayings "could be a message from anyone."
In March, police opened fire on a van that tried to drive through a roadblock in Macedonia. They killed seven Pakistanis and said they found seven AK-47 assault rifles, several hand grenades and ammunition in the van. Macedonian officials said they were planning attacks on Western embassies in the capital, Skopje.
One of the seven was identified as Ahmet Ikaz, 24, a Pakistani listed as a known criminal by Interpol. The bodies of six Pakistanis were returned to Pakistan in September, according to a Karachi-based human rights activist.
Borjan Jovanovski, a spokesman for Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski, said it was too early to speculate on the attackers' motives.
Police found slogans on a wall inside the building referring to the al Qaeda terrorist organization and warning against "infidels."
Karachi police said no one had taken responsibility for the killings.
Scribbled on a wall in blue ink were the words "al Qaeda Pakistan, result of adultery" and a couplet titled "Message for Infidels" that said:
"Loyalty will be returned in loyalty.
Oppression in oppression.
We are men like you.
We will do what you will do."
The messages were written in Pakistan's Urdu language.
Karachi Pakistan's largest city with 14 million residents has been wracked by violence, often targeting foreigners.
Pakistani officials have blamed militants opposed to President Pervez Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.
While U.S. special forces hunt for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network in neighboring Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence believes many of the organization's top operatives have fled to Pakistan, where they are protected by Pakistani militants.
Gen. Musharraf banned several militant groups in January, but in recent days politicians from the religious right, who won big in recent elections, have released jailed members of the groups.

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