12/09/2005, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Seven die, more than 45 hurt in Bangladesh bomb blast

Two bombs explode in district north of Dhaka. Police finds flyers from Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, an outlawed Muslim group. They are the latest in a series of attacks that left 28 dead in three weeks. Muslim leaders and opposition organise demonstrations against terrorism.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) - At least seven people have been killed and more than 45 wounded in a suicide bomb attack of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) that happened yesterday morning during the rush hour on a crowded street in a district town, as police examined a suspicious package. Two bombs went off within the space of a few minutes in Netrokona, 360 kilometres north of the capital Dhaka. Police at the scene said two men rode up on a bicycle and dropped a package on the street.

Many of the victims were people on their way to work at offices, colleges and markets, witnesses say. Police say the wounded included ten policemen. No one claimed responsibility for the blasts, but police found a JuM leaflet on the scene. In the leaflet, the banned militant outfit reiterates its call for jihad to establish Islamic rule in the country. It also vows to crush all obstacles that might come along the way. Police say they found a suicide bomber among the wounded, with an unexploded bomb strapped to his body. He was taken to hospital unconscious, but he died from his injuries later, police sources added. Another suicide bomber was believed to be among the dead.
Although JuM militants had threatened on a number of occasions to carry out bomb attack on government offices, courts and educational institutions, police did not take measures to arrest the militants. They rather denied all along the militants' existence in the district. Local reports say many militants were sheltered in different madrassas and mosques, taking advantage of slackness of the law enforcers. Soon the town became a safe haven for the religious extremists.

The country has been hit by a series of bombs in recent months blamed on Islamic extremists. Bangladesh is the world's third most populous Muslim country after Indonesia and Pakistan. Thursday's deaths took the number of people killed by suspected suicide bombers to 28 in three weeks, including judges, lawyers and policemen. At least 150 people have been wounded.

Mass demonstrations are due in Bangladesh to protest against terrorism. The protests are being organised by the country's leading Muslim clerics, who have denounced the attacks as against the tenets of Islam. The government, which has urged the clerics to organise demonstrations after Friday prayers, says the organisations behind the recent bombings are abusing Islam and damaging its reputation.
The Awami League (Al)-led opposition line-up will hold demonstrations across the country on December 11 denouncing the continued terror strikes. The opposition observed that the ruling coalition neither discussed the issue in the Cabinet nor at any party forum, which indicates they are not sincere about putting an end to militancy and bomb terrorism.

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