A day after a new video surfaced from the Pakistani Taliban threatening fresh attacks on the U.S. and Europe, one of the group's leaders announced he was leaving the terror network and taking "hundreds" of fighters with him.
Fazal Saeed Haqqani, reported leader of a faction of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) near the Afghan border, told two Western news outlets he was quitting because he disagreed with the TTP's use of suicide attacks against civilians.
"I repeatedly told the leadership council of [TTP] that they should stop suicide attacks against mosques, markets and other civilian targets," Haqqani told the Agence France-Presse Monday. "Islam does not allow killings of innocent civilians in suicide attacks.
"I have therefore decided to quit TTP," he said.
Haqqani told AFP and Reuters he took hundreds of fighters with him to create a new group, called Tehrik-e-Taliban Islami (TTI), which will continue attacks against U.S. troops.
The TTP, an umbrella group made up of several factions in Pakistan, has been blamed for more than 4,500 deaths since July 2007, according to AFP's report. Faisal Shahzad, the man convicted of attempting to carry out a terror attack in New York City's Times Square in Spring 2010, had traveled to Pakistan and was allegedly trained by the TTP.
In September 2010, the group was officially designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.
Haqqani's announcement came just a day after a new video surfaced featuring TTP's deputy commander, Waliur Rehman, threatening ten new terror attacks -- some to be carried out in the U.S. and in Europe -- to avenge the death of notorious al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
"Soon you will see attacks against America and NATO countries," Rehman says in the video, which aired on Al-Arabiya over the weekend.
Rehman also claims that a deadly, brazen attack on a Pakistani naval base in late May was their first act of vengeance for bin Laden's death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs on May 2.
Both Rehman and TTP's overall leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, are wanted by the U.S. government and each sport bounties of up to $5 million for information leading to their capture.