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Bangladesh seeks intel cooperation from world community to fight terror

TerrorInDhaka Updated: Jul 06, 2016 01:19 IST
Dhaka terror probe

A Bangladeshi woman walks past a banner that reads "We stand with the bereaved" in a street near the upscale restaurant, the site of a bloody siege in Dhaka.(AFP)

Bangladesh on Tuesday sought cooperation from the international community to fight radical Islamists as authorities said they were questioning several persons, including a former university teacher, over a terrorist attack on a Dhaka café that left 20 hostages dead.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and home minister Asaduzzman Khan Kamal made separate statements seeking cooperation as security agencies made desperate attempts to trace those behind Friday’s carnage at Holey Artisan Bakery.

Asaduzzman Mia, commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told reporters investigators were questioning several people, including a former university teacher and the son of an industrialist. He said several family members of the hostages and possible suspects were also being questioned but did not give details.

“We are investigating all aspects. There are some people under our care…They are being questioned,” he said.

Earlier reports had said police were questioning Abul Hasnat Reza Karim, a former teacher of the elite North South University, and Tahmid Hasib Khan, a student at the University of Toronto in Canada currently on holiday in Dhaka.

Briefing a group of about 50 diplomats in Dhaka, Ali said he hoped foreign friends would come forward to share intelligence with Bangladesh. Representatives of the US, Britain, European Union, China, India and Pakistan attended the meet.

The home minister told a news briefing all the attackers were Bangladeshis who were backed by domestic radical groups, countering claims they were members of global terrorist organisations such as Islamic State.

The IS claimed the responsibility for the gruesome attack, according to SITE Intelligence group, but the claim could not be independently verified. The government has repeatedly said the IS has no presence in Bangladesh.

The minister did not take any questions at the briefing amid confusion over two suspected attackers. Six men were killed by commandos at the café and a seventh was arrested but the families of one of the dead and the detained men said both were restaurant staffers.

A case filed late on Monday at Gulshan police station in Dhaka named only five of the attackers as Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam and Shafiqul Islam.

Security officials found four pistols, an AK-22 rifle, four IEDs, a walkie-talkie and sharp weapons at the café.