The suicide bomber who carried out an attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad last month came from the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, an al-Qaeda leader said in a rare interview with a Pakistani news channel.
Geo News aired the interview late on Monday with veteran al-Qaeda member Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, in which he elaborated on the June 2 attack that killed six people, all of them Pakistanis.
The bomber was a young man from the land "where the Prophet was born" and the "land of Mecca", said the bespectacled, bearded and turbaned Yazid.
Soon after the blast, Yazid had claimed responsibility for al-Qaeda in a posting on an Islamist website.
The interview with Geo was said to have been conducted at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan a few days ago.
An Egyptian who served time in jail with al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, Yazid is now commander of operations in Afghanistan.
He has been referred to as al-Qaeda’s third most senior figure, after the elimination or capture of five earlier occupants of the Number Three spot since 2001.
Earlier, the September 11 Commission described Yazid as the network's "chief financial manager".
Yazid defended the tactic of using suicide attacks and was unapologetic about the fact that the attack on the embassy killed Pakistanis, including one security guard on the gate and two policemen.
Al-Qaeda justifies killing fellow Muslims by deeming them to have become heretics, excommunicated from the Islamic community because of their loss of faith.
Yazid said al-Qaeda was not to blame for any of the bomb attacks in Pakistan late last year that targeted mosques.
It was unclear, from what Yazid said, whether the embassy bomber was a Saudi, as many non-Saudis have settled in Mecca, or whether he had been recruited while visiting the city.
Yazid said the bomber had come to join a jihad in Indian Kashmir or Afghanistan, but became enraged by the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in Danish newspapers in 2005.
During the interview, Yazid openly acknowledged al-Qaeda's responsibility for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and berated the Pakistani government of President Pervez Musharraf for subsequently "betraying" the Islamist cause by siding with the United States.