Ayman al-Zawahiri planned the attack in 1994, shortly after aligning himself together with Osama bin Laden, initially hoping to target the Khan el-Khalili marketplace on the same day. Members such as Abu Hafs claimed it was in response to Pakistan's extradition of several al-Jihad members to face imprisonment, torture and sexual abuse in Egypt. Al-Zawahiri later said that the group had wanted to target the American embassy, but it was too heavily fortified.
Two men approached the embassy at approximately 9:30am and killed its security detail with their guns and grenades. A vehicle described alternately as either a pickup truck or a small car resembling a taxi loaded with a 250-pound bomb then rushed into the compound. The driver set off the bomb, blowing apart the gates. Three minutes later, a Jeep carrying a second, larger bomb also detonated and the side of the building crumbled. The Japanese and Indonesian embassies were also damaged, as was a nearby bank.
The two bombers, the Second Secretary for the embassy, three Egyptian security guards and 12 others including Pakistani security guards, civilians and as many as four other diplomats were killed in total, and approximately sixty were wounded. A 17th person died in hospital the following day.
It was the group's first success under Zawahiri's leadership, but Bin Laden had disapproved of the operation. The bombing alienated the host of the embassy, Pakistan, and Pakistan was "the best route into Afghanistan" Zawahiri later referred to the bombings in his autobiographical text.
- "We had to react to the Egyptian government's expansion of its campaign against Egyptian fundamentalists outside the country. So we decided to target a painful goal for all the parties of this evil alliance. After studying the situation we decided to assign a group to react to this and we assigned their targets, first bombing the American embassy in Islamabad and if that wasn't easy, then one of the American targets in Islamabad. If that didn't work, then the target should be bombing a Western embassy famous for its historic hatred for Muslims, and if not that, then the Egyptian embassy. Our extensive and detailed surveillance found that targeting the American Embassy was beyond the abilities of the assigned group, so we decided to study one of the American targets in Islamabad, and we discovered it has few American employees and most of the victims would be Pakistani. We also discovered that targeting the other Western embassies was beyond the abilities of the assigned group, so we settled on targeting the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, which was not only running a campaign for chasing Arabs in Pakistan but also spying on the Arab Mujahedeen…later, Pakistani security found in the ruins of the embassy evidence revealing the cooperation between India and Egypt in espionage."
- "A short time before the bombing of the embassy the assigned group asked our permission. They told us they could strike both the Egyptian and American Embassies if we gave them extra money. We had already provided them with all that we had and we couldn't collect more money. So the group focused on bombing the Egyptian embassy. The rubble of the embassy left a clear message to the Egyptian government."
- Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, December 3, 2001
Three groups had all simultaneously taken responsibility for the attack, including al-Jihad, the International Justice Group and the Islamic Holy War group. Former CIA agent Robert Baer claims that Imad Mughniyah "facilitated the travel" of somebody involved, and that one of his deputies had "provided a stolen Lebanese passport to one of the planners of the bombing".
Read more about this topic: Attack On The Egyptian Embassy In Pakistan
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