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New York Shooting
We did it: Taliban

Islamabad, April 4
In a claim dismissed by analysts as “far fetched”, the Taliban today owned up responsibility for the shooting incident in an immigration services office in New York that left 14 persons dead, saying it was carried out in retaliation against US drone attacks in Pakistan.

Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud telephoned reporters to claim responsibility for yesterday’s shooting at the immigration services centre in a small town of Binghamton in western New York state. He said a Pakistani man and another unidentified man launched the attack.

The chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan warned that “such attacks would continue” to avenge missile strikes by US drones in tribal areas and “brutalities in Palestine.” Mehsud also pointed out that he had said a few days ago that his militants would carry out attacks on American soil.

Reacting to the claim of the Pakistani Taliban leader, analysts said it was “far-fetched”.

Mehsud’s claim came hours after a US drone attack in North Waziristan tribal agency killed 13 people, including women and children.

Authorities in New York said a man armed with two handguns killed 13 persons at an immigration services centre before turning the gun on himself.

Mehsud had recently claimed responsibility for the terrorist siege of a police training centre at Manawan near Lahore that killed eight persons.

Investigators clueless on gunman’s motive

US investigators, who began a probe into the shooting by a lone gunman believed to be a Vietnamese immigrant in New York states’ downtown Binghamton, are yet to establish the motive for the massacre.

As federal officials from numerous agencies began what was likely to be a lengthy investigation, they were unable to pinpoint a motive for the killings.

“What motivated the assault remained a mystery,” the New York Times said quoting officials. According to the report: “Binghamton officials said the assailant apparently had ties to the centre, which helps immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement and other issues”.

Local news reports revealed that the dead gunman, identified as Jiverly Wong, 42, a Vietnamese immigrant who lived in nearby Johnson City, had recently been laid off from his job with IBM.

He barged into the immigration services centre in downtown Binghamton, during citizenship classes yesterday and shot 13 persons to death and critically wounded four others before turning the gun on himself.

President Barack Obama, travelling in Europe, expressed his “shock and sadness” at “an act of senseless violence”, and said his and his wife’s “thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of Binghamton”. David Paterson, the Governor of New York, described it as “a tragic day for New York”.

The US has a history of such shooting incidents. A heavily-armed gunman had shot dead eight people, many elderly and sick patients, in a North Carolina nursing home on March 29 this year. Six people had been shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide at a home in an upscale Silicon Valley neighborhood on March 30 this year.

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