Bangladesh denies IS link, again

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan says home-grown radical elements are behind recent attacks.

July 07, 2016 03:19 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:10 pm IST - Kolkata

Policemen at the scene of terror attack in Kishoreganj.

Policemen at the scene of terror attack in Kishoreganj.

Even as the Islamic State has vowed to carry out more attacks in Bangladesh, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan has reiterated that radicalised home-grown elements were behind the recent terror attacks in the country, not the West Asia-based terror group.

In a telephone interview with The Hindu , within hours of Thursday’s attack in Kishoreganj district in north-east Bangladesh which killed three people, Mr. Khan said the attackers are “local boys”.

“They are brainwashed, as it was done earlier [to dislodge the Awami League government in 2013 using terror tactics], and these attacks were conducted through these local boys, these are home-grown elements,” said Mr. Khan.

After the July 1 attack on an upmarket café in Dhaka where militants killed 20 visitors, the IS had claimed responsibility. In another video, the group said that the café attack was only a “glimpse” of what’s to come.

Identical patterns

“We can identify a pattern in these attacks. The way it was conducted earlier and now… the patterns are identical,” Mr Khan said. At least two militants are taken into custody after Thursday’s attack, the Home Minister said.

He thanked the police personnel for “weakening the intensity” of Kishoreganj attack.

“Police have done a remarkable job. They stopped the militants at least a kilometre before the historic Eidgah Maidan [field] of Sholakia, where lakhs of people assembled for Thursday’s prayer,” Mr. Khan said.

The militants, carrying hand grenades and other arms were stopped at the police check post around 9 am.

“The check post was located at Azimuddin High School gate, about 1 kilometre from the Eidgah Maidan of Sholakia, by the police and the grenades were charged. The police resisted the attackers from reaching the field, where prayers were taking place, which reduced the number of casualties… It could have been bigger,” Mr. Khan said.

Probe is on

He refused to comment on whether the attack was masterminded by another country. “We are investigating the incidents and we would get to know soon,” he said.

He added that the attackers are “not real Muslims who have engaged in un-Islamic act on Eid” targeting innocent civilians. “They do not have a religion.”

Speaking at an Eid reception in Dhaka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Thursday that the attackers are enemies of Islam.

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