Bangladesh’s home minister said on Sunday militants who killed 20 people in a Dhaka restaurant had not made any demands and one of the persons taken alive by police was only a suspect.
The gunmen stormed the upmarket restaurant in the diplomatic zone late on Friday and killed their mostly non-Muslim hostages, including nine Italians, seven Japanese and a citizen each from the United States and India.
The home minister Asaduzzaman Khan also said that three of the six gunmen killed were under 22 years of age.
He denied that Islamic State had had any role in the attack as claimed and said he did not believe the incident would have any impact on the country’s vital garments industry.
Police and government officials have said the attackers were from well-off Bangladeshi families, a rarity and an indication that religious radicalisation was widening its scope.
Claiming responsibility, Islamic State warned citizens of “crusader countries” - that is, traditionally Christian western states - in a statement that they would not be safe “as long as their aircraft are killing Muslims”.
It also posted pictures of five grinning fighters in front of a black flag who it said were involved in the attack, according to the SITE monitoring website.
But Khan said Islamic State was not involved, reiterating the government’s position that home-grown militants were responsible for a spate of killings in the country over the past 18 months, including the latest one.
Asked about the photos, the minister pointed to a wall behind him and said: “If I fix a poster of IS here and stand with a machine gun, will it establish that IS is here?”
The minister has blamed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, which claims to represent Islamic State in Bangladesh but has no proven links to it.