Amid the existing security threat during the coming Eid, a powerful bomb inside a “weighing machine” seized by police exploded inside Pallabi Police Station yesterday morning, injuring four policemen and a support staff.
Officers ruled out the involvement of any militant group, but said they had information that the bomb could be used to kill a local political leader.
Walid Hossain, deputy commissioner (media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, did not say which politician was the posible target.
“The issue stemmed from a political rivalry between local leaders. An investigation is ongoing and things will be clear once the probe is done,” he said, adding that there was information that the three suspects arrested were “hired killers”.
DMP Additional Commissioner (Crime) Krishna Pada Roy said Pallabi police raided Kalshi area around 2:00am and arrested the suspects after learning about a possible “criminal act” by a gang.
The police team found two pistols, four bullets and something that appeared to be a weighing machine in their possession, he told reporters in front of Pallabi Police Station.
Being suspicious as to why the suspects would carry a weighing machine, the officers called the bomb disposal unit of DMP. The unit then looked at the device and recommended further examination by a more experienced squad.
But it exploded around 6:00am, before the special team arrived, Krishna added.
Meanwhile, US-based SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online jihadist organisations, in a tweet last night said, “IS Claims Credit for Blast at Pallabi police Station in bangladesh capital.
Inspector (operations) Imranul Islam, 48, sub-Inspectors Sajib Khan, 30, Angkush Kumar, 28, and Rumi Haider, 28, and support staff Mohammad Riaz, 28, were injured in the blast.
Rumi and Riaz were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Angkush was taken to the National Eye Institute.
Riaz’s left wrist was blown away and his right hand was wounded. He also sustained injuries in his stomach, said Resident Surgeon Mohammad Alauddin of DMCH.
The explosion happened at a time when there is intelligence on possible militant attacks by the IS-inspired “Neo-JMB” centring the Eid-ul-Azha.
The Police Headquarters earlier alerted its units to a possible attack.
Krishna Pada Roy, however, said they did not find any evidence linking the incident to militancy.
“The arrestees are members of a criminal group. We are interrogating them,” he said.
The arrestees are Shahidul Islam, 23, Mosharraf Hossain, 26, and Rafiqul Islam, 40.
According to a high official of the DMP, the suspects are members of a gang called the Shahadat Bahini.
The bomb was so powerful, it sounded throughout the neighbourhood, causing a panic in the area, locals said. The blast shattered most of the glass windows on the second floor.
Seeking anonymity, a police high-up, however, told this correspondent that the bomb exploded when one of the policemen of the station went to check it on his own.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Rahmatullah Chowdhury, in-charge of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit’s bomb disposal squad, said that the bomb was powerful and made by professionals.
“Inside the weighing machine, there were three pipes. One of the pipes exploded before the bomb disposal team reached there. Later, we defused the two other pipes,” he added.
“Militant groups do not use these kinds of explosives. Usually, we see criminal groups use such explosives,” he said.
Last Friday, there was a bomb explosion in the capital’s Purana Paltan area around 8:45pm, but it had no casualties.
Earlier on February 28, an IED went off at a traffic police box in Chattogram’s Sholoshahar, injuring four people, including a child.
A bomb exploded at an Awami League office in Khulna city in September last year. Before that, two persons, including a female police officer, were injured after a bomb went off near a police pickup in the capital’s Malibagh intersection on May 26. Police claimed that all these attacks were carried out by “Neo JMB”.