10/08/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Blast in Qur'anic school reveals bomb and weapon factory

by Sumon Corraya
The madrasah was run by Hefajat-e-Islam, an Islamic fundamentalist group that has been very active in recent months. Amid the rubbles, police found homemade bombs and explosive material. A 25-year-old student died as a result of the explosion; six others were injured.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - One person was killed and six were seriously wounded in an explosion yesterday morning in Chittagong at a madrasah (Qur'anic school) that belongs to Hefajat-e-Islam, an Islamic fundamentalist group that is very active in Bangladesh.

According to police, the educational facility was used to manufacture bombs and weapons. Agents found traces of explosive devices as well as three crude bombs, more than 30 homemade grenades and 18 bottles of picric acid.

The victim, Mohammed Habib, was 25-year-old. The six people injured tried to hide and get medical care covertly, but police found them and took them to hospital where they are under constant watch.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of seven people, including Nayeb-e-Ameer Mufti Izharul Islam Chowdhury, 70, founder of the madrassa. He is affiliated with the Islamic militant group Harkatul Jihad al Islami.

According to some experts, various extremist groups plan to disrupt the country's upcoming general election, scheduled for the end of the year.

Hefajat-e-Islam (Protector of Islam) is one of these many groups, emerging in recent months from within the many madrassas that exist in Bangladesh.

These Islamists support the Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Party) and its fight against decisions taken by the country's war tribunals.

Since February, they have been involved in general strikes (hartal) and violent action, generating tensions within the country despite widespread indifference.

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