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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 "
November 30, 2005

Police hunt Bangladeshi bombers
Medics carry one of the Gazipur wounded in hospital in Dhaka A survivor of one of the attacks is taken to hospital
Police in Bangladesh say they have begun a huge manhunt for members of an Islamic militant group accused of two bomb attacks which killed nine people.

The police suspect members of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen are behind Tuesday's attacks near court houses.

Seven people, one a suspected suicide bomber, died in Gazipur. In Chittagong, two policemen were killed while the alleged bomber was seriously injured.

No group has claimed the blasts, which follow a wave of recent attacks.

The bombers were enemies of Islam and enemies of the country
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen is one of three Islamic groups outlawed after the authorities linked them to a series of blasts.

Police believe the courts and judges are targeted because they symbolise the laws in the country, most of which are secular, based on British legal code.

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen wants to establish Islamic law in Bangladesh.

'Change in tactics'

Police are almost certain the attack in Gazipur was carried out by a suicide bomber - they say preliminary investigations suggested he had explosives strapped to his body.

The attackers seem to have changed their strategy
Bangladesh police chief Abdul Qaiyum
Suicide bomber fears In pictures: Bomb attacks

If confirmed, this would be the country's first such attack, marking a major change in strategy by the militants, the authorities say.

"Our target is to find out who these suicide squad members are, where are they are and how many there are," police intelligence chief Farrukh Ahmed told the AFP news agency.

Bangladesh police chief Abdul Qaiyum told the BBC on Tuesday the attacker had entered the bar library in Gazipur disguised as a lawyer and concealing explosives beneath his gown.

"The attackers seem to have changed their strategy," he said.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia has said tough action will be taken against those involved in acts of terrorism.

"The bombers were enemies of Islam and enemies of the country. We will do everything and anything needed to stop them," Ms Zia was quoted telling a public meeting by Reuters.


Bangladesh has been hit by a wave of recent bombings that have targeted judges, journalists and politicians.

Lawyers and judges have received threatening letters from Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen in the past few weeks.

Earlier this month, two judges were killed in a bomb attack as they travelled to court in southern Bangladesh.

In August more than 400 small devices went off across the country within the space of half an hour, killing two people and injuring more than 100.

Leaflets purportedly left by the militant group at some blast sites have called for the establishment of Sharia law in Bangladesh.

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."

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