Police detains eight suspects after suicide bombing in Bangladesh

Police questioned eight suspects on Friday after a suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded Bangladesh street, killing himself and six others in the latest attack blamed on extremists wanting to create an Islamic state. The suspects were detained in Netrokona town, the site of Thursday's bombing, said police investigators who can't be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media. The officers refused to provide further details.

``Those who have carried out the attack have thrown a challenge for us. But we shall capture them,'' Junior Home Minister Lutfozzaman Babar, told reporters late Thursday.

The blast occurred as hundreds of people had gathered on a narrow street in the northern town of Netrokona after police safely detonated another bomb found abandoned in a building.

The explosion sent shrapnel ripping through the air, killing seven people and injuring dozens, including another bomber who police said failed to detonate his explosives.

Rezaul Hossain Sumon, a 20-year-old college student with shrapnel wounds all over his body, said about 400 people had gathered in the street to catch a glimpse of the bomb police had just detonated. He said he saw a man on a bicycle pull a cord tied to his body just before the explosion.

``I was close to the man and I saw him pulling the cord,'' Sumon said from his bed at a hospital in nearby Mymensingh town. ``I immediately collapsed and I've no idea how I landed up here in the hospital.'' Police blamed the attack on Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, a banned Islamic group believed to be behind a wave of blasts that have killed 21 people in the past two weeks.

A police officer at the scene, Ali Hossain Faquir, said a handwritten leaflet warning police to follow Islamic law and stop protecting ``man made'' laws was found near the site, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital, Dhaka.

The previous attacks largely targeted government offices and courts, and Home Ministry spokesman Khandaker Monirul Alam, told reporters in Dhaka that the attackers have ``adopted a new tactic, and targeted innocent people.''

The suspected second bomber was under police guard in a hospital, police officials said on condition of anonymity according to policy. A police bomb expert described the device they found and detonated, a metal container wrapped in red tape and packed with glass splinters, as ``a small, not powerful bomb.''

``It was probably used as a decoy to attract people,'' he said on the condition of anonymity due to the continuing investigation.

The second bomb, however, was packed with high explosives and iron balls that tore through the crowd and instantly killed four people, including the bomber. Three others died later from injuries, police said. At least 45 people including nine police were injured, many seriously, witnesses and police said, reports the AP. I.L.

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