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Suicide Bombers Target Courthouses in Bangladesh

Posted: November 30, 2005

At least nine people were killed and dozens of others injured in Bangladesh in what local authorities say are the first suicide bombings in that country.

Police said the attacks, which targeted courthouses in Chittagong and Gazipur, are part of a campaign by Islamic militants to terrorize the judiciary before it puts rebels detained for other bombings on trial. 

The first explosion occurred on November 29, 2005, when a suicide bomber detonated himself at a checkpoint outside a court building in Chittagong as police scanned him with a metal detector.  Forty minutes later, a second suicide bomber detonated his explosives as he walked into the Gazipur district court’s law library.

The bombers are suspected to be members of the militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen, which was banned by the Bangladeshi government in February for its alleged involvement in a series of blasts at the offices of a non-governmental organization.  Authorities recently warned that the group was plotting suicide attacks to press its demands for an Islamic state governed by strict Sharia law. 

Bangladesh has been besieged by a series of bloody terrorist attacks in recent months.  In August 2005, approximately 350 small bombs exploded within an hour of each other in locations across the country, killing two people and injuring more than 100.  The bombs exploded in all but a few of the country’s 64 major towns and cities.  The home ministry indicated that leaflets bearing the name of Jamayetul Mujahideen were left at all the blast scenes.  In November 2005, a militant killed two judges by tossing a bomb in their minivan seconds after trying to hand them leaflets demanding Bangladesh be ruled by Sharia.

After the November 29 courthouse bombings, the Inspector General of Police Abdul Qaiyum described the incident as “the first suicide attack in
Bangladesh.”  Twenty-two suspected Islamist militants were detained by police following the attacks.

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