Terror in bangladesh: attack on mass prayer

Bangladesh was again the victim of an attack. Near a religious gathering, at least four more people were killed, including one of the attackers.

Around 300,000 people pray on the huge site at the end of Ramadan Photo: imago/xinhua

A few days after the bloody attack on a restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh is once again a target of terror: suspected Islamists threw homemade bombs at police officers near a prayer gathering with hundreds of thousands of Muslims at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday north of the capital. A firefight with police followed. Four people were killed, including two police officers and a woman, as well as a suspected attacker.

The renewed attack is fueling fears that Islamist terror will continue to spread in the predominantly Muslim country. Since 2013, members of minorities have been attacked time and again. Last week, attackers took hostages in a Dhaka restaurant and attacked them with stabbing weapons. 28 people were killed, including 20 hostages, two police officers and six attackers. The Islamic State terrorist militia claimed responsibility, but the government insists IS does not exist in the country.

No one initially claimed responsibility for Thursday’s attack. According to government sources, it hit police officers assigned to guard the religious gathering in Sholakia in Kishoreganj district about 90 kilometers north of Dhaka. The huge site hosts the largest open-air prayer events for the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the end of Ramadan.

At least one of the explosive devices thrown exploded, killing two police officers, according to officials. Officers then opened fire and shot one of the attackers, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Tofazzal Hossain. The woman died in the crossfire. More than a dozen other people were injured, he said. Security forces sealed off the area and searched for suspects, according to eyewitnesses. How many attackers there were in total initially remained open.

IS had warned of further attacks in Bangladesh in a video posted on the Internet on Wednesday, according to the Site information service, which specializes in monitoring extremists. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, however, insisted they were homegrown terrorists. "It is a totally political act," he told India’s CNN-News 18. "They want to destabilize the government and overthrow the secular government of Sheikh Hasina."

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