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Bangladesh Muharram Blast: ISIS claims responsibility for attack on Shia procession

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They said it was believed to be the first attack on the Shias in the Sunni-dominated Bangladesh, which has witnessed an increase in violence this year claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. “One of the bombs directly hit a boy of around 12 and he died instantly,” a police official said.
ISIS
A boy was killed and about 90 others injured today in a rare pre-dawn bomb attack on a Shia procession in front of the community’s main shrine in the Bangladeshi capital as thousands gathered for observing Ashura. Police and witnesses said three bombs were hurled at the procession joined by more than 20,000 people at around 1:30 AM at Huseni Dalan, an important 17th century centre of learning for the Shia community.

They said it was believed to be the first attack on the Shias in the Sunni-dominated Bangladesh, which has witnessed an increase in violence this year claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. “One of the bombs directly hit a boy of around 12 and he died instantly,” a police official said.

Doctors at two major state-run hospitals said most of the wounded were now out of danger. Panic and chaos gripped the crowd when the bombs exploded with people running for their safety through the narrow lanes of old Dhaka, further compounding their injuries.
Security personnel cordoned-off the area and the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and armed police escorted people out of the blast site.
“In Bangladesh we have been observing the holy Ashura for centuries, but this is the first time we came under such a gruesome and cowardly attack,” a Shia leader told reporters hours after the attack.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but a suspect has been detained near the blast site, police said.
The attacks come as Shiites around the world mark the holy month of Muharram. Ashura marks the 10th day of the holy month of Muharram when Shias gather to mourn the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Hussain.
The blasts came just weeks after an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer were shot dead in attacks claimed by the IS, amid political instability.
Bangladesh’s police chief AKM Shahidul Haque, however, downplayed IS involvement or any international links, saying the attack was likely staged to destabilise the government.
The anti-liberation forces may have carried out the attack, Haque said. Police have launched a probe “keeping many things on the back of our mind”, but it appears to be the work of “anti-liberation (forces) and war-criminals,” he added.
“It does not appear to be an attack carried out by Islamists… but it is a planned sabotage,” Dhaka’s Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said.

PTI