ISIS claims responsibility for the Bangladesh suicide bombing attack
The Daesh group claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide bomb attack on a Bangladesh security forces camp, while police in Dhaka shot dead a suspected militant in a separate incident.
The Bangladeshi government has repeatedly denied the presence of the group in the country, blaming attacks on local extremists.
Two policemen were wounded in the apparently botched attack on Friday when a man blew himself up at an elite forces camp near Dhaka’s international airport.
The camp attacked was occupied by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite force tasked with combatting militancy.
Asked about the Daesh group’s claim of responsibility, RAB spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan told AFP: “That group has no presence in Bangladesh at all”. The Daesh group claimed responsibility for a major attack on a Dhaka cafe last year in which 22 people, including 18 foreign hostages, were killed.
The Bangladeshi government, however, has said a new faction of homegrown extremist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) was behind that and other attacks.
Critics accuse Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government of using the spate of attacks in the country to demonise her domestic opponents.
On Saturday a man on a motorbike tried to cross a RAB security roadblock in Dhaka carrying a bag with improvised explosive devices.
Bangladesh police shot the suspected militant dead, Khan said.
“As he was carrying explosives we primarily suspect him of being a militant,” Khan told AFP, adding further investigation was needed to ascertain his identity.
A bomb disposal unit recovered the biker’s bag containing multiple small improvised bombs, which were later defused, Khan said.
Friday’s bomb attack was one of the first in recent years against the elite RAB force, which has led a nationwide crackdown on hardliner extremists, arresting scores of suspects.
Police have this month also been carrying out a series of raids in the southern Chittagong region and say they killed four suspected militants when they stormed an extremist hideout on Thursday.
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry said last year there was evidence to link extremists behind attacks in Bangladesh to the Daesh group.
“There is the ideological footprint of the group in Bangladesh, there is no denial about it,” said Shahab Enam Khan, a terrorism expert at Jahangirnagar University.
“However, we have not received enough evidence of their physical existence in concrete organisational form in the country yet.”
Al Qaeda and the Daesh group have made competing claims over killings of foreigners, liberals and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim country of 160 million people.
Authorities have consistently ruled out the presence of such groups, blaming domestic militants instead.
However, security experts say the scale and sophistication of the cafe attack suggested links to a wider network.
Police have killed more than 50 suspected militants in shootouts since the cafe attack, including the man they say was its mastermind, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.
Source: /Gulf Today