‘21 Turks killed in US drone attack’
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Protestors burn a replica drone as they shout slogans during a rally in Islamabad on Oct 28 against the US drone attacks.Twenty-one Turks fighting along the Afghan-Pakistan border have been killed in air strikes by the United States in Afghanistan, according to reports.
Gazavat Media, a jihadist propaganda website, released a statement that announced the deaths of 21 “Turkish mujahedeen affiliated with the Haqqani group,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group. The statement was released on jihadist web forums on Nov. 30. The date of the death and the exact location was not disclosed.
PakTribune, a news service based in Pakistan, meanwhile reported that a U.S. drone fired two missiles into Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border on Nov. 30, killing at least 21 suspected militants, including foreigners.
“The dead included local Taliban as well as some Arabs and Uzbek nationals,” one intelligence official in North Waziristan told the news network on the condition of anonymity.
However, the report by the Gazavat Media announced the names of 18 of the Turks killed. “It was confirmed that the number of the Turkish mujahedeen affiliated with the Haqqani group was 21, and that there were also mujahedeen heavily wounded in the attack,” the statement said. The Turkish fighters were killed in a so-called “low-intensity chemical weapon attack,” but did not provide any further details.
Eighteen of the fighters were identified by name while the remaining three have yet to be identified. The statement said the 21 Turkish fighters were members of one of several “mujahideen units” that operate along the Afghan-Pakistan border, attacking the “occupiers.”
Musa Üzer, secretary-general of the Free Thought and Education Rights Association (Özgür-Der), an Istanbul-based Islamist organization, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday that they were “proud of our martyrs.”
“They were in the war zone voluntarily to stand up against the imperialists’ occupation of the Muslim world,” said Üzer. “Their fighting is self-defense in the name of God and jihad.”
Üzer said the Turkish government and state had nothing to do with the “jihadists” being there.
“The Taliban is not a terrorist organization and our martyrs were not terrorists,” he said. “The imperialist powers think that they can invade any Muslim soil at will, but they will face self-defense and resistance on every front.”
According to a report on the Long War Journal website, the Turks killed were members of Victorious Sect, a transnational Turkish jihadist group that operates along the Afghan-Pakistani border and is based in North Waziristan.
The Victorious Sect was established in 2009 by the Islamic Jihad Union, a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, to accommodate the increasing influx of European foreign fighters in the region. Scores of German and other European fighters also belong to the Victorious Sect, the report said.