While the New York Police are still to reach any conclusion regarding the responsibility for the attempted incendiary attack in the Times Square of New York on the evening of May 1, 2010, tribal sources in Pakistan suspect that it was a joint attempt by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), also known as the Islamic Jihad Group.
The TTP has already claimed responsibility for the attempt through a message purporting to be from Qari Hussian Mehsud, the head of the suicide terrorism training wing of the TTP, disseminated through the Internet on May 2, but its claim has not been taken seriously by the US investigating authorities till now. The IJU, which has remained silent so far, is a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). It projects itself as a global jihadi group and not as an etnic Uzbeck group and has in its ranks recruits from Germany, including White converts to Islam, and the US, including some Pakistanis born of mixed marriages like David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. In the past it had come to notice for planning terrorist attacks against German and US targets in Germany, which did not, however, materialise.
While the US authorities are looking into all angles--including the possibility of the involvement of non-Muslim irrational elements in the US-- the possibility that jihadi elements of either local or external origin might have been involved started receiving some attention on May 3. While their scepticism about the claim of the TTP is understandable, it will be unwise to reject it without proper verification.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.