Al-Qaeda lashes out over Pakistan school massacre

A picture taken with a mobile phone early on May 24, 2014 shows Al-Qaeda militants posing with Al-Qaeda flags in front of a museum in Seiyun, second Yemeni city of Hadramawt province, after launching a massive pre-dawn assault that killed at least 15 soldiers and police.

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN Al-Qaeda's regional branch said yesterday that hearts were "bursting with pain" over the Taleban's massacre at a Pakistan school, and urged the militants to target only security forces.

Tuesday's attack killed 149 people - mostly children - in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.

"Our hearts are bursting with pain and grief over this incident," Osama Mehmood, spokesman for the Al-Qaeda South Asia chapter, said in a four-page e-mail statement.

"There is no doubt that the list of crimes and atrocities of the Pakistani army has crossed the limit, and it is true that this army is ahead of everyone in America's slavery and genocide of Muslims...but it does not mean that we should seek revenge from oppressed Muslims," Mehmood said.

"The guns that we have taken up against Allah's enemy - America and its pet rulers and slave army - should not be aimed towards children, women and our Muslim people," he added.

Al-Qaeda chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri announced the creation of the South Asia branch in September to "wage jihad" in Myanmar, Bangladesh and India.

The Afghan Taleban, who are loosely affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan, have also condemned the attack, saying that killing innocent children was against Islam.

Pakistan described the bloody rampage as its own "mini 9/11", saying that it was a game changer in its fight against terror.

The army has been waging a major offensive against longstanding Taleban and other militant strongholds in the restive tribal areas on the Afghan border for the last six months.

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