Bangladesh: IS claims hand in suicide blast at anti-terror unit headquarters in Dhaka

Bangladesh security personnel frisk a traveller at a checkpoint at the entrance of Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka following a suicide bomb explosion on a military camp. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Dhaka Mar 17, 2017, 02.29 PM (IST) Saad Hammadi

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the suicide blast at the premise of the Rapid Action Battalion headquarters in Dhaka. Terror monitoring group SITE Intelligence has cited IS's Amaq news agency claiming the responsibility. 

The attack took place at a RAB camp demarcated for the headquarters of the elite force.

"Today around 1300 hrs an unknown man entered through the low boundary of the under construction administrative installation of RAB at Uttara, where few stores are located and few members are staying, and few construction work is going [on]," said Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, spokesperson of the Rapid Action Battalion.

Two members of the security force challenged the suicide bomber and an explosion occurred as he tried to escape, Khan told WION. The suicide bomber died on the spot and the security men were taken to the combined military hospital in Dhaka.  

Security personnel have cordoned off the area and authorities have issued high alerts in the city. The prisons authorities have issued alerts to their security personnel to check every inmate before taking them into prison and put on vests until further notice.

The blast takes place a day after Bangladesh police killed four suspected militants in a day-long operation in Sitakundu of Chittagong.

Security analysts have pointed out the possibility of Islamic State gaining traction in South Asia as they lose their grounds in Iraq and Syria. The subcontinent remains as a fertile ground for terrorists to operate.

Bangladesh has put its airport, railway and key point installations on high alert following the cafe attack in Dhaka last July when at least 20 civilians were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. 

Investigators in Bangladesh have denied having any presence of the Islamic State in Bangladesh and said that the attacks are conspired by members of the neo Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh. 

"There was a group called the JMB in the past and this group was co-opted by IS," said Rohan Gunaratna, a professor of security studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. "This group started to mount attacks the same way IS conducts attacks," he told WION.

Security analysts argue that the modus operandi of the Islamic State is such that a direct physical presence of any foreign national is no longer a requirement to franchise attacks by the Islamic State in a country. 

One person was killed in a suicide bomb blast near rapid action battalion headquarters in Dhaka. The bomber was attempting to enter a makeshift camp of the rapid action battalion in Dhaka's Ashkona (WION)