An apparent suicide blast at a mosque of the minority Ahmedi sect in Rajshahi district of Bangladesh left the suspected attacker dead and three persons injured on Friday.
Police said the attack occurred at 1.40 pm at Mochmoil village in the northwestern district during weekly afternoon prayers thronged by local residents.
Officials said they had recovered a belt-like object from the body of a young man who could not immediately be identified by residents of Mochmoil.
No group claimed the responsibility for the attack.
Motiar Rahman, the officer in-charge of Bagmara police station, said police suspected it was a suicide attack on the minority sect, which is often ostracised in the Sunni-majority country of 160 million.
Rahman said the unidentified man exploded the bomb when villagers were offering prayers. One hand of the suspected attacker was blown off by the explosion and he died instantly, he said.
The incident took place against the backdrop of heightened security for Christians celebrating Christmas on Friday. Many churches had expressed concern over security amid reported threats from radical groups.
Many bishops and priests said they had been threatened by unidentified people over phone or SMS.
Bangladesh has only 100,000 Ahmedis and the sect’s leaders often allege they face threats regularly. Despite being Muslim-majority, Bangladesh has secular laws and there is no official bar against Ahmedis practicing their beliefs.
The sect has been declared “non-Muslim” in Pakistan, from which Bangladesh separated after a war in 1971.