Islamic State claims responsibility for Bangladesh bombings: SITE

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombings that targeted Shias in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka early on Saturday, monitoring group SITE says.

Published : 24 Oct 2015, 01:57 PM
Updated : 24 Oct 2015, 03:46 PM

It has cited the ultra-hard-line Sunni Muslim group, which sees Shias as apostates, as saying "soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh" detonated explosive devices in Dhaka during "polytheist rituals".
The series of blasts killed at least one person and wounded dozens as Shia Muslims gathered for a procession in the old part of Dhaka to mark the holy day of Ashura, police said.
However, Bangladesh's home minister told Reuters that no militants were involved and the blasts were not linked to an attack that killed 16 people at a Shia procession in neighbouring Pakistan hours earlier.

Police had cordoned off the area and one officer said four suspects were arrested.
Witnesses said people fled after blasts, losing their flip-flops and sandals in the panic.
Attacks on the Shia minority have been rare in Sunni-majority Bangladesh, but Sunni militant groups of late have become more active.
"This is not a militant attack, rather it is a planned and destructive attack aiming only to destabilise the situation of the country," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told Reuters on Saturday.
"Though the attack came hours after a suicide bombing in Pakistan, we strongly believe the situation is not similar at all as we live peacefully with Shia community," he said.

But soon after, threat monitoring group SITE reported that the IS had claimed responsibility for the bombings in Dhaka.
IS had also claimed responsibility for the recent murders of two foreign nationals in Bangladesh.
But the government and law-enforcing agencies ruled out any presence or activity of the militant group in the country.
Those injured in Saturday’s blasts were admitted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and Sir Salimullah Medical College Mitford Hospital after the explosions.
Most of those at DMCH were in stable condition, an official there said.
BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir demanded a "neutral investigation" into the attack.
"This is a clear sign of a deteriorating law and order," said acting Jamaat-e-Islami chief Moqbul Ahmed.

The government, however, has blamed the BNP and its ally Jamaat for the bombings.
US Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat released a statement saying she was shocked by the attack and noted Bangladesh's long tradition of religious tolerance and communal harmony.