Four people, including two policemen, were killed on Thursday in explosions and gunfire that were carried out by terrorists in Bangladesh at the country’s biggest prayer service for the start of Eid, days after a mass murder of hostages in the capital Dhaka. The attack took place near a prayer ground in Kishoreganj district where at least 2,50,000 people had come for a post-Ramadan gathering.
“Two policemen, an attacker and a woman, who was shot during the gunfight, were killed. Nine policemen were injured. They are in a critical condition and have been shifted to a military hospital in Dhaka,” police spokesman A.K.M. Shahidur Rahman said.
According to police officials, a group of three attackers hurled hand bombs at the police checkpoint just outside the main prayer ground, which is around 150 km north of Dhaka. Nearly 1,000 police were on duty in Kishoreganj at the time of the attack.
“We responded with gunfire. A gunfight ensued and they fired back and threw more hand bombs,” Tofazzal Hossain, a senior police official said.
Two attackers were arrested, including one who was shot and injured, while a pistol and machete were recovered from the scene.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, it came less than a week after ISIS terrorists killed 20 hostages and two policemen in an overnight siege at a Western-style cafe in Dhaka. All the victims, including 18 foreigners, were hacked to death with machetes.
Bangladesh has been on a heightened state of alert in the wake of the killings in Dhaka last Friday night and many Eid services included pleas from religious leaders for an end to the violence.