A powerful bomb ripped through a crowded street in northern Bangladesh on Thursday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens in an attack police said may have been carried out by a suicide bomber on a bicycle. The blast in the town of Netrokona occurred about an after authorities defused another bomb in the same area, said police officials who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Authorities initially said one person was killed in the blast, but the police officials later confirmed that four people, including the bomber, were killed at the scene and two victims died of their injuries on the way to hospitals.
The police officials said they believe the blast may have been detonated by a suicide bomber who was riding through the crowd on a bicycle. At least 45 people, including nine police, were injured, they said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but a series of explosions in two other Bangladesh towns nearly two weeks ago have been blamed on militants who seek to establish Islamic rule in Bangladesh, a largely Muslim country governed by secular laws. Police detained and questioned more than 200 suspects after the recent blasts, which killed a total of 14 people, but have so far not officially charged any suspects. Witnesses to Thursday's blast described a scene of bloodied victims and screaming survivors.
"It was a terrible sight. People were screaming in pain all around," said Shymolendu Pal, a reporter for Dhaka's Ittefaq newspaper. He and several other journalists had gathered in the area before the blast to report on the other bomb police said they had earlier defused.
Pal and other witnesses reported seeing many injured being taken to hospitals with legs or hands torn apart, raising fears the death toll in the blast could rise.
Among the dead was an activist whose organization, Udichi Shilpi Ghosti, or the Rising Sun Artists Group, has recently held several anti-militant concerts, police said. The woman, who was not identified, was traveling in a motor rickshaw when the bomb exploded nearby, police said, adding that she was not believed to have been a specific target, reports the AP. I.L.