Investigators probing the > Dhaka terrorist attack are beginning to suspect that the militants who carried out the strike may have gone abroad to receive arms training and that they may have been influenced by the words of Mumbai-based preacher Zakir Naik and radical British cleric Anjem Choudary.
Law-enforcement agencies are trying to piece together where some of the attackers went after disappearing from their homes earlier this year. They believe that the terrorists’ professional handling of automatic weapons is an indication that they travelled abroad to receive training.
According to sources, 22-year-old Nibras Islam, who led the attack, was following both Mr. Choudary and Shami Witness, the Islamic State Twitter handle operated by Bengaluru-based Mehdi Biswas. Another killer was known to quote Mr. Naik’s teachings, sources said.
A student at the upmarket Turkish Hope School, Islam went to Malaysia for higher studies, but in early February he went missing. Rohan Ibn Imtiaz, another attacker who had a privileged upbringing, went missing in January and his father — S.M. Imtiaz Khan Babul, a leader of the ruling Awami League — lodged a police complaint on January 8.
Another attacker, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, too went missing in February.
Pakistan denies charge
Meanwhile, Pakistan has described allegations levelled by prominent members of the Bangladesh government that it was involved in the attack as “highly regrettable and irresponsible.”
“In response to the media queries regarding allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in Dhaka’s terrorist attack, the spokesperson stressed that these are highly regrettable, irresponsible and provocative stories being carried in the Indian media. They are utterly baseless and unfounded,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Bangladesh’s Minister of Home Affairs, Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, had blamed “pro-Pakistan elements who had tried to sabotage Bangladesh’s freedom struggle” for orchestrating the recent spate of attacks on foreigners and secular intellectuals, and also accused it of being behind the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery.