- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A fledgling sect of al Qaeda in South Asia has taken responsibility for the hijacking of a Pakistani naval ship, claiming it intended to fire at and destroy U.S. vessels in the Arabian Sea.

Spokesman Usama Mahmoud said his newly-formed al Qaeda offshoot had successfully seized control of the PNS Zulfiqar, but were unsuccessful in attempts to fire on nearby American vessels, Reuters reported.

“These mujahideen had taken control of the Pakistani ship and they were advancing towards the American fleet when the Pakistani army stopped them,” he said, Reuters reported. “As a result, the mujahideen, the lions of Allah and the benefactors of the Ummah, sacrificed their lives for Allah and the Pakistani soldiers spoiled their hereafter by giving up their lives in defense of the enemies of the Ummah, the Americans.”

The SITE monitoring service, which first reported Mr. Mahmoud’s comments, also included a picture that showed a detailed layout of the Pakistani ship, the PNS Zulfiqar.

The Pakistani military press wing wasn’t immediately available for comment, Reuters reported.

The attack was carried out Sept. 6 and spanned several hours. The al Qaeda group that just claimed responsibility for the attack this week was actually formed on Sept. 4, tasked with a mission touted by its leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, of spreading Islamism and “rais[ing] the flag of jihad” all across South Asia, Reuters reported.

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