Bangladesh Bombers Connected to Al Qaida
** Police seized live bombs from suspects **
Police detained nearly 100 people, said a senior police officer who asked not to be named. Security officials said they seized several live bombs from suspects and found others in various places.
RAISING MONEY FOR AL QAEDA
The Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen leaflets were found at most of the blast sites. Besides calling for Islamic rule in Bangladesh, they also warned the United States and Britain against occupation of Muslim nations.
Police in eastern India said on Thursday they were questioning two suspected Bangladeshi nationals arrested in connection with distributing leaflets and raising money for an organization which had al Qaeda as part of its name.
Some leaflets also warned Britain and the United States to “get out of Muslim countries,” police said. Many of the improvised bombs were placed in front of government offices, courts, hotels, and bus and railway stations.
“We launched a nationwide crackdown and so far we have arrested 87 people,” Abdul Kaiyum, Bangladesh’s Inspector General of Police, told AFP. “Our forces are everywhere. We are on the highest alert.”
One detained suspect admitted to being the local leader of Jamayetul Mujahideen, which was banned in February for alleged links to a series of bombings of religious shrines and other targets, a police official said.
One official said, “In terms of security, it shows that we are now the weakest country in South Asia, even weaker than Nepal.”
Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim-majority nation with a population that is 90 percent Muslim, Bangladesh casts itself as a moderate Muslim democracy. But it appears to be witnessing the rise and mainstreaming of an Islamist political movement, analysts say.
“There are warning signs and indicators that things could go in those directions,” a Western diplomat posted in the capital, Dhaka, said in a telephone interview, granted on a condition of anonymity imposed by his government. “We’re certainly not at the point where Afghanistan was a couple of years ago. Could we be 10 years from now? It’s certainly possible. There is no one here who would say that’s absurd.”
India Thursday said a “secular and democratic” Bangladesh was key to stability in the region as it offered assistance in identifying those responsible for nearly 400 explosions across the neighbouring country.
Yesterday, hundreds of bombs exploded in 63 of 64 districts in Bangladesh. Two people were killed in the blasts at least 150 were hospitalized.