Dhaka massacre: terrorists were all descendants of well-to-do families

Officials have named five out of seven men who carried the terroristic attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery cafè. They belong to well-to-do local families and studied in expensive private schools; the father of one is a member of the ruling party. The Islamic State claimed the assault, but Home minister refereed to local Islamic groups.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladeshi officials have named five perpetrator terrorists who carried the attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery cafè in Dhaka and said they were known to police and belong to well-to-do local families. It emerged by the latest investigations on the last Friday massacre at the cafè very popular among foreigners in the heart of the capital. The investigations are going on and a candlelight vigil will be held today at 8 pm (local time) in remembrance of the 20 victims, most of them Italians.

The five men (seven in all, including one terrorist currently hospitalized and another one not yet identified) who assaulted the cafè shouting “Allah is great” in Gulshan district, in the heart of country’s capital, were identified after the Islamic State released photo of the five gunmen. They were later recognized by the SITE intelligence group (which monitors terrorist activities online).

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attack but the government has denied this. Bangladesh's home minister said on Sunday that the attackers belonged to a local militant group which has been banned long since. “They are members of the Jamaeytul Mujahdeen Bangladesh (JMB),” Asaduzzaman Khan said. “They have no connections with the Islamic State.”

Investigators revealed also the name of another local Islamic group, the Ansarullah Bangla Team which is also linked to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

The assailants were said to belong to well-to-do local families. They studied in private schools and universities also abroad, not in Islamic seminaries or madrassas, where many Islamist militant groups are thought to draw recruits from poor and marginalized families. The father of one is a former executive of Dhaka city unit of ruling Awami League, and he is also a deputy secretary general of Bangladesh Olympic Association.

In a state ceremony this morning, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to the victims and placed a floral wreath at the Army Stadium in Dhaka. A candlelight vigil will be held today at 8pm. The event invited people to participate “in this peace gathering towards morality, humanity and compassion for those who are not amongst us anymore.”

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