March 25, 2017 / 5:20 PM / 9 months ago

Bangladesh bomb blasts kill six, scores injured

DHAKA (Reuters) - At least six people, including two police officials, were killed and scores wounded in two bomb blasts in Bangladesh on Saturday near a militant hideout that was raided by commandos, police said.

Armed para-commandos cordon an area during an operation against militants in Sylhet, Bangladesh, March 25, 2017. Picture taken March 25, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

The explosions in the northeastern district of Sylhet came a day after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a security checkpoint near the country’s main airport in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

“At least six people including two police official were killed in two explosions, one near the hideout and another in front of the building,” said Sylhet police spokesman Zedan Al Musa.

More than 40 people were wounded, several critically, he added. About a dozen army and police personnel were among the injured.

Islamic State claimed responsibility “for a bombing on Bangladeshi forces in Sylhet”, the SITE monitoring service said, citing the militant group’s news agency Amaq.

Army commandos had stormed the hideout, which belonged to a domestic Islamist group that has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, and was blamed for a cafe attack in July last year in which 22 people were killed, most of them foreigners.

On Saturday, commandos rescued all 78 people trapped inside the five-storey building for more than a day in an operation that was still underway.

The raid came after a string of suicide attacks on security bases this month.

A forensic report confirmed that Friday’s attack was a suicide blast that was the third incident involving explosives in the capital, Dhaka, in a week.

Islamic State and al Qaeda have made competing claims over killings of foreigners, liberals and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim country of 160 million people.

The government has consistently ruled out the presence of such groups, blaming domestic militants instead.

Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Robert Birsel

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