Dhaka: Islamic State militants today claimed responsibility for the attack on a Shia mosque in Bangladesh when gunmen fired indiscriminately at worshippers killing one person and injuring three others, the second attack on the minority community amid a series of incidents linked to the dreaded terror group.
US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity, said on its website that the Islamic State group had claimed responsibility for the yesterday’s attack in a message posted on Twitter.
Three gunmen stormed into the Shia mosque in Shibganj area of northwestern Bogra district during the evening prayers yesterday and opened fire on the worshippers mith machine guns, killing the 70-year-old muezzin, who calls Muslims to prayer, and injuring three others, including the imam.
The gunmen fled the scene crossing a wall after locking the mosque’s main gate from inside apparently to prevent people in the neighbourhood to come to the rescue of the victims, sources said.
Police conducted raids after the attack and detained two suspects for questioning today. The detainees were identified as Anwar Hossain, 48, and Jewel, 25, the Daily Star quoted a senior police official as saying.
The Bogra Shia mosques’ managing committee President Abu Jafar said: “Those who are engaged in carrying out militant activities across the world and are also involved in anti-Shia activities might have links with this attack.”
Attacks on the Shia minority are rare in Sunni-dominated Bangladesh. It was the second attack on the country’s minority Shia Muslim community. Last month, a grenade attack on a Shia procession in Bangladesh’s capital killed two and injured over 100 others.
Authorities had dismissed a claim of responsibility by the Islamic State group in the attack on the Shia procession on October 24 , saying it had no presence in the country, and that the attackers were likely from Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a statement after the Bogra attack said those who raided mosques were not “true Muslims” while she ordered law enforcement agencies to launch a probe into the incident.
Security officials had yesterday killed the mastermind of the October 24 attack, Al Bani, during a gunfight in a Dhaka suburb. Bangladesh has seen several violent incidents in recent months, including attacks on foreigners and secular bloggers claimed by the IS, although the government says the attacks have been carried out by local Islamist radical groups.
The attacks have alarmed the international community and raised concerns that religious extremism is growing in the traditionally moderate South Asian nation. Shias are a minority in Sunni-majority Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people.