Series of blasts rocks Bangladesh

A series of bombs exploded almost simultaneously in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, the main port city Chittagong and other towns on Wednesday, injuring at least 40 people and triggering widespread panic.

State Minister for Home Affairs, M. Lutfuzzaman Babr, told television channels that the blasts appeared to be "pre-planned and well organized" but did not blame any individual or group. "We are looking into the matter while taking security precautions," he said.

The bombs exploded on the streets, at courts and near key government buildings in various places across Bangladesh. One bomb also exploded outside Dhaka's Sheraton Hotel, security officers said.

No one claimed responsibility for the blasts, but copies of a leaflet found at bomb sites carried a call by a banned Islamic group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, for Islamic rule in Bangladesh. "It is the third call to establish Islamic rule in the country. If ignored and (if) our people are arrested or persecuted, Jaamat-ul-Mujahideen will take the counter action," the leaflet said, reports Reuters.

According to Newindpress, besides capital Dhaka, at least 49 of Bangladesh's 64 districts were hit by the bombings, suspected to be the handiwork of banned Islamic outfit Jamiat-Ul-Mujahideen, in the first such attack in this politically volatile south Asian country.

"This is not a scattered incident, but an organized one," State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Baber told reporters at his office. "In such attacks it is possible that a motive is there. We had intelligence report about such incident, but that time had expired," he added.

At least 11 suspects have been arrested from different parts of the country following the explosions that rocked many places including Narayanganj, Sylhet, Habiganj, Sirajganj, Sherpur, Mymensingh, Kishoreganj, Gazipur, Khulna, Munshiganj, Rajshahi, Lalmonirhat, Naogaon, Khulna, Chittagong, Bandarban, and Patuakhali around 11 am (local time).

Several unexplained bombs have exploded across Bangladesh in recent years. On Saturday, one person was killed and 50 others injured after several bombs were thrown at a Muslim shrine in eastern Bangladesh.

In May last year, the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh was hurt in a grenade explosion at a Muslim shrine in the north-eastern town of Sylhet. Three people were killed and more than 50 wounded in that attack, informs BBC News.

Photo: AFP

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