A suicide bomber blew himself up near a temporary camp of the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) police force in Ashkona Hajj Camp area of Dhaka on Friday afternoon.
"The suicide attacker targeted our camp. Two of our officials have been injured," said RAB legal and media wing Director Mufti Mahmud Khan.
The assault – which occurred around 1pm – comes only two days after Islamic State (IS) called for suicide attacks in Bangladesh, and one day after two militants of New JMB group blew themselves up to evade arrest by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit during a raid in Chittagong’s Sitakunda.
“The attacker trespassed into the territory of our under-construction headquarters crossing the wall during Jumma prayers,” the media wing director said.
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RAB personnel at the gate of their under-construction headquarters where a suicide blast took place Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
“RAB officers, who were on duty at the gate, challenged the attacker. The man seemed confused while talking to the RAB men and moved as to leave the place.
“At that time, he detonated his suicide vest, leaving himself dead and two RAB officers injured,” the RAB spokesman added.
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The injured officers – Lance Corporal Mizan and Constable Arif – were rushed to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital.
Later, RAB’s bomb disposal team recovered a fresh handmade bomb attached to the attacker’s body.
RAB is saying it cannot be determined as yet if the bomber was a member of any militant group.
RAB personnel have cordoned off the area. Forensic experts from RAB and Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and a team from Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) were collecting evidence from the spot.
The RAB men were admitted to Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka with injuries.
Bag recovered from near the body
A black travel bag was found near the body of the suicide attacker, officials told the Bangla Tribune.
They could not immediately say what was inside the bag. The suicide bomber was wearing a cap.
Mufti Mahmud Khan told journalists no leaflet or document had been found on the attacker.
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RAB officers form a protective cordon in front of the site Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
“But he exploded a suicide vest so we cannot eliminate the possibility of there being more explosives on his person.
“A bomb disposal unit is examining the scene,” he said.
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A female member of New JMB, affiliated with the IS, blew herself up during a raid in Ashkona on December 24, while another man committed suicide by slitting his throat during a raid at a Azimpur den on September 10.
New JMB’s first suicide attack was carried out on December 26, 2015 on an Ahmadiyya mosque in Baghmara, Rajshahi, when militant Md Tarek Aziz alias Musa was killed.
Police also believe the New JMB suicide squad members were behind the grenade attacks on Navy mosques in Chittagong on December 18, 2015.
Following Friday's blast, army installations across the country were put on red alert, while the civil aviation authority also called for a beefing up of security at airports.