International
0

Bangladesh Gunmen Made No Demands, IS Claim Rejected

Bangladesh Gunmen Made No Demands, IS Claim RejectedBangladesh Gunmen Made No Demands, IS Claim Rejected

Seven militants who killed 20 people at a Dhaka restaurant made no demands and a person taken alive by police was only a suspect admitted in hospital, Bangladesh’s home minister said on Sunday, rejecting the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group’s claims over the attack.

The gunmen stormed the upmarket restaurant in the diplomatic zone late on Friday and killed their mostly non-Muslim hostages, including nine Italians, seven Japanese and a citizen each from the United States and India.

Three of the six gunmen killed were under 22 years of age and had been missing for six months, Asaduzzaman Khan told Reuters in an interview at his Dhaka home.

Police and government officials have said the attackers were from well-off Bangladeshi families, a rarity and an indication that religious radicalization was widening its scope.

Claiming the attack, IS warned citizens of “crusader countries”—that is, traditionally Christian western states—in a statement that they would not be safe “as long as their aircraft are killing Muslims”.

It also posted pictures of five grinning fighters in front of a black flag who it said were involved in the attack, according to the SITE monitoring website.

But Khan said IS was not involved, reiterating the government’s position that homegrown militants were responsible for a spate of killings in the country over the past 18 months, including the latest one.

Asked about the photos, the minister pointed to a wall behind him and said: “If I fix a poster of IS here and stand with a machine gun, will it establish that IS is here?”

The minister has blamed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, which claims to represent IS in Bangladesh but has no proven links to it.

Security experts believe the suspect, who was hospitalized with serious injuries, would be crucial to the investigation into the attack. Khan said it was not clear if he was involved.

As Dhaka limped back to normal life, experts questioned the delay in launching the offensive against the militants. More than 100 commandos stormed the restaurant nearly 10 hours after the siege began, under an operation code-named “Thunderbolt”.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Shahidur Rahman said on Sunday that authorities were investigating any connection between the attackers and transnational groups such as IS or Al-Qaeda.

He said the militants were mostly educated and from well-off families, but declined to give any more details. On Saturday, police released pictures of five dead militants, most of them wearing grey T-shirts.

Financialtribune.com