10 killed 21 injured as first time suicide bombings hit Bangladesh - courthouse blasts blamed on outlawed Jamaat ul Mujahideen
PM says: "Government has taken a hard stand and now we will take an even harder stand "
Suicide bombings come to Bangladesh
CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH -- Ten people were killed and 21 badly injured yesterday in what police said were Bangladesh's first suicide bombings and the latest in a string of attacks by Islamic extremists.
The government and police accused the hard-line Jamayetul Mujahedeen, which wants to introduce strict Islamic law in the Muslim-majority democracy, of staging the attacks targeting the legal system.
"Jamayetul Mujahedeen is using Islam's name to kill people," Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said during a visit to the south. "The government has taken a hard stand and will now take an even harder stand."
This is the first suicide attack in Bangladesh," national Police Chief Abdul Kaiyum said after the blasts in the southeastern port city of Chittagong and in Gazipur near the capital Dhaka.
These were powerful homemade bombs. It seems Jamayetul Mujahedeen have stepped up their attacks after we arrested many of their members."
Two days earlier, security was tightened around embassies in Dhaka as the result of a faxed message in the name of "al-Qaeda in South Asia."
The message contained a threat to blow up the U.S. and British missions as well as all other European embassies. The Dhaka government has repeatedly denied suggestions that Bangladeshi extremists have any links with al-Qaeda.
The first attack was at Chittagong's main court where three people -- a suicide bomber and two police officers -- died. Five police officers and a second would-be suicide bomber were seriously injured, police said.
A Jamayetul Mujahedeen activist hurled a bomb into the court and then blew himself up after approaching a police stand at the court, police Subinspector Rahul Amin said.
The second attack targeted the bar association in Gazipur where a suicide bomber wearing lawyers' robes and four others died. Seventeen people were also seriously wounded, said Gazipur police officer-in-charge Kamrul Islam.
Two seriously injured people died late yesterday in Dhaka Medical College, which brought the death toll to 10, duty doctor Arif Hossain said.
"I saw the fans catch fire and blood-stained, mutilated bodies lying on the ground," witness Mohammad Bazlul Haq said of the Gazipur blast. "The body of the suicide bomber was there with some wires and bits of the bomb still strapped to his body."