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Islamists threaten more attacks in Bangladesh (24 October 2005)

Islamists threaten more attacks in Bangladesh (24 October 2005)

Islamist militants blamed for a wave of bomb attacks across Bangladesh over the past two months have threatened more attacks on government sites in the next fortnight, a government official said on Monday.

S.M. Faisal Alam, deputy commissioner of northeastern Sylhet district, 350 km (219 miles) from the capital Dhaka, said he had received a letter on Sunday, purportedly from the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen group, carrying the threat of more bombings.

Police hold the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen responsible for some 500 small bombings across the country, almost simultaneously, on Aug. 17, killing two people and wounding about 100.

Two more people died and 15 were hurt when militants hurled five bombs at court buildings in three districts, outside Dhaka, on Oct. 3 -- also blamed on the Jamaat-ul, and suspected activists of another outlawed Islamist group, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh.

"More simultaneous attacks will be launched to blow off government installations in next 15 days," Alam quoted the letter, signed by a commander of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

Leaflets found at bomb sites on Aug. 17 carried a call by the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen for the introduction of sharia-based Islamic rule in Bangladesh, a mainly Muslim democracy.

Police have since detained nearly 500 suspects, including many who confessed during interrogation to be members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and taking part in the bombings.

But police have yet to find the supreme leader of the group, Shayek Abdur Rahman, and also the head of the Jagrata Muslim Janata, Bangla Bhai.

"In the wake of the recent bombings, we have taken the latest threat seriously and have escalated it to appropriate higher authorities," said a senior police officer in Sylhet.

On Sunday, a local leader of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party was killed in a bomb attack in southwestern Khulna district. No one has claimed responsibility for the killing. Reuters

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