Bangladeshi police question 39 suspects in bomb attack

Bangladeshi police questioned 39 suspected Islamic militants on Friday after a man detonated a bomb outside a government building, killing one person and wounding at least 29 others, authorities said. The bomb, apparently hidden in a tea flask, exploded Thursday outside a sprawling complex that houses the chief government administrator's office and a courthouse in Gazipur, north of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Days earlier, suspected Islamic suicide bombers killed seven people in the same town.

Emergency workers rushed 16 of the most seriously injured to a hospital, where one person died of shrapnel injuries, said Mozammel Haq, a doctor at the state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Islamic militants have repeatedly targeted lawyers and judges in Bangladesh, accusing them of promoting secular laws instead of Islamic Sharia rule. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest blasts, but police said they discovered leaflets of Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a banned Islamic group, on the suspected bomber, who was wounded and captured.

Police detained the 39 people Thursday as part of a nationwide hunt for members of the group, which has been blamed for a spate of bombings across Bangladesh this year, an Interior Ministry official said on condition of anonymity in line with official policy. None has been charged with any offense, the official said.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia canceled a visit to the United Arab Emirates that was to start Saturday because of the attack, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zahirul Haque said.

The bomber was disguised as a tea vendor near a line of people waiting to enter the government buildings, said Gazipur police chief Atiqul Islam.

Security officers challenged him and he refused to undergo a search. When officers threatened to shoot him, he threw the tea flask containing the bomb to the ground, and it exploded, Islam said.

The bomber gave his name as Abdur Razzak, 25, said Abdul Halim Mollah, a doctor at Gazipur Sadar Hospital who treated him. One of the injured, pedal rickshaw driver Zahurul Islam, was waiting for a passenger when the blast knocked him to the ground, reports the AP. I.L.

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