Explosions kill four people in Bangladesh

Four people including two children died in blasts at a house surrounded by security forces hunting for Islamic militants.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 17:42 IST

Four people including two children died on Monday in blasts at a house surrounded by Bangladesh security forces hunting Islamic militants linked to a wave of bombings, officials said.

Members of the police's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) fired into the house in the eastern town of Comilla after the explosions and they later reported seeing four dead bodies lying inside, said MahbubAlamMolla, director-general of the force.

"They are a JMB (JamayetulMujahideen) man, his wife and their two young sons," he said.

The siege at the house in the eastern town of Comilla began earlier on Monday after a string of arrests by officers hunting the leaders of an outlawed group that has been waging a bloody campaign to have strict Islamic laws imposed in the Muslim-majority country.

Police said they have not yet searched the building for fear of further explosions.

After the leader of the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen, Shaikh Abdur Rahman, and its second-in-command, Siddiqul Islam, were arrested earlier this month officials said they were still searching for the last two members of the group's seven-member decision making body.

"We arrested nine people in different places including the JMB Comilla district commander and two other members and based on their information we surrounded the house," said Molla

"At noon they hurled a bomb at our officers injuring two and forcing us to shoot back. They hurled more bombs and shouted that they would kill themselves rather than give up," he added.

The condition of the wounded officers was not yet known.

Nurul Alam, Comilla area police chief, said two people had been arrested at the scene including a man thought to be Rahman's son.

The man had surrendered and been taken to hospital with head injuries.

Rahman, an Afghan war veteran who studied in Saudia Arabia, has allegedly confessed to being the mastermind behind more than 400 almost simultaneous blasts last August, as well as a series of subsequent attacks.

At least 28 people died including four suicide bombers and two judges.

He also took responsibility for knife attacks on two leading academics, officials said last week.

The Bangladesh government, a four-party Islamist-allied coalition, last year admitted that it had woken up late to the threat posed by the militants and vowed to root them out.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 17:42 IST