Militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan on Tuesday distributed pamphlets pledging holy war to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, albeit a week late.
Masked militants armed with assault rifles handed out copies of the pamphlet from pick-up vehicles in Miranshah, the main town of the tribal district that has become known as Pakistan’s premier al-Qaeda and Taliban hub.
“Let us pledge today that we will continue our jihad (holy war) and sacrifice our lives and property in the way of Allah like Sheikh Osama did,” it said, unsigned and dated May 2, the anniversary of the al-Qaeda leader’s killing by U.S. troops.
“Today, a year since Sheikh Osama bin Laden embraced martyrdom, the enemy America is repenting. It is facing defeat and Pakistan’s future is also bleak,” it said.
The pamphlet distribution followed two days of rare fighting between troops and Islamist militants in Miranshah that killed 19 soldiers and civilians, officials said.
Gunbattles in North Waziristan are relatively rare because of an agreement between insurgents and the military not to attack each other.
Pakistan has resisted U.S. pressure to conduct a major offensive in the district, saying it is too overstretched fighting homegrown insurgents elsewhere in the tribal belt.
Bin Laden was killed on May 2 2011 in a secret U.S. Navy SEAL operation in a walled-off compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad.
Pakistan went on high alert last week over fears of revenge attacks, but the anniversary passed off peacefully.