Quader suspects Science Lab bomb blast a test attack for bigger plot
The bomb attack on policemen at Dhaka’s Science Laboratory area on Saturday may be a test attack for a bigger plot in the near future, Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader said on Sunday.
“It has been learnt from detectives that it was a remote-controlled bomb. The incident is being investigated. Police activity has also been increased. This might be a test for a bigger attack,” the minister said.
Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, made the statement while speaking at the ministry’s meeting room at the Secretariat Sunday.
When asked whether the LGRD minister was the target of the attack, he said: “Detectives and intelligence officials have told me that the minister was not targeted in Saturday’s attack.”
In response to a question on whether militants are in the country, Quader said: “Of course there are militants in the country, but they have grown weaker. We have not said that it [militancy] has been exterminated. Militancy is a global problem, not only in Bangladesh.”
On Saturday night, two police officials sustained injuries when a bomb exploded in front of a police box at Dhaka's Science Lab intersection. One of the injured was escorting LGRD Minister Tazul Islam through the area during the time of the blast.
Meanwhile, Middle East-based militant outfit Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hours after the incident took place, US-based Search for International Terrorist Entities Institute (SITE) Intelligence Group published the claim on their Twitter account on Saturday.
Mohibul Islam Khan, deputy commissioner of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of police, said: "We are not yet sure whether it was a militant attack or not. We are investigating the incident,"
However, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud rejected the IS claim, saying there is nothing called Islamic State (IS) in Bangladesh.
“There is nothing called IS in Bangladesh. IS claims responsibility when a tyre of a vehicle explodes, and also when a handmade cocktail bomb explodes. I do not know who spreads such information,” the minister said while speaking to journalists at his Secretariat office on Sunday.
Police face third targeted attack this year
This was the third attack on police this year.
On July 24, IS claimed "bombings" at two ''police checkpoints" in Dhaka. SITE Intelligence Group published the claim on their website.
However, the IS claim did not match reports from police. Members of the law enforcement agency said they disposed of two "bomb-like objects" near police boxes at Paltan intersection and Khamarbari's Bangabandhu Chattar, during the late hours of July 23 and early hours of July 24
IS also claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on police in the Gulistan and Malibagh areas of Dhaka in April and May, respectively.
‘Police and Detective Branch are investigating Science Lab attack’
Regarding the blast at the Science Lab intersection on Saturday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated targeting police.
“Considering the overall situation, it seems that the explosives were hurled targeting police,” he said in a press conference at the DMP office on Sunday.
The DMP chief further said: “Detective Branch and Police are investigating to find out if this incident [Science Lab blast] has links to the Malibagh and Gulistan blasts, which took place earlier this year.
“They will also try to find out if this blast is connected to any of the incidents that occurred in 2014 and 2015 (petrol bomb attacks during BNP-Jamaat countrywide movements),” he added
Asaduzzaman Mia also said: “War crimes trials are still going on. We are investigating to seek if this blast was carried out to interrupt the trial procedure and disrupt police. This kind of attempt will never be successful.”
Two police personnel sustained injuries in the bomb blast in front of a police box at the Science Laboratory intersection around 9:20pm on Saturday.
The injured – Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Shahabuddin and Constable Aminul – were admitted to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital. ASI Shahabuddin was escorting LGRD Minister Tazul Islam through the area.
He also said the pattern of the attack is similar to previous attacks targeting police, carried out in the capital's Gulistan and Malibagh areas this year.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said: "ASI Shahabuddin was in a team escorting the LGRD minister's vehicle."
The minister's motorcade was stuck in traffic at the intersection on his way to Dhanmondi, when ASI Shahabuddin, who was in the minister's protection vehicle, came out to help Constable Aminul ease the congestion, the DMP chief told journalists.
"I believe the crude bomb was hurled from the nearby footbridge at the police box," he added.
A case has been filed in connection with the incident.
The case was filed with New Market police station under the Explosive Substances Act around 11:45pm on Sunday, said New Market police station OC Atikur Rahman.
Meanwhile, Police Headquarters Assistant Inspector General (Media) Sohel Rana told Dhaka Tribune that a nationwide alert issued after the Malibagh attack was set to continue after the incident at the Science Lab area.