Intel on Possible ‘Militant Attack’: New security alert before Eid



The police have received intelligence that militant outfit “Neo JMB” could try to carry out attacks centring the Eid-ul-Azha.

The Police Headquarters has already instructed its various units to remain cautious about the Islamic State-inspired outfit and take necessary measures to prevent subversive acts.

The so-called IS has decided to announce formation of a new wing — “Bengal Ulayat” — ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha. Analysing data on militant activities at home and abroad, it was found that such a declaration is made through a subversive act, the PHQ said in its instructions.

“Neo JMB” could try to carry out subversive acts. All police units need to be on alert and take necessary measures, it noted.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Haider Ali Khan, additional deputy inspector general (intelligence and special affairs) at the PHQ, said, “We always take some preventive measures whenever there is any global development.

“The next month is August. In the past, militant outfits were found active in August. So we have stepped up security measures,” he said.

The special units, including the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) and Rab have been asked to be on alert, he said.

“We have adopted a policy of zero tolerance against militancy as per the prime minister’s directives…”

According to intelligence, “Neo JMB” may choose embassies, religious institutions or police establishments as their targets.

Police officials have been instructed to beef up security, collect information on new tenants in cities, properly check identity of visitors to police installations, increase security in DMP’s Diplomatic Division and religious establishments, and not to leave any police vehicles unattended, according to sources.

Seeking anonymity, a police high-up, told this correspondent that they have already strengthened security measures in and around embassies and different areas of the capital. Checkposts have already been set up at different points in the city.

Contacted, Additional Inspector General of Police Md Kamrul Ahsan, the chief of the ATU, categorically said they always remain alert, and there is no scope for an agency like the ATU to let their guard down at any point of time.

Earlier on Friday, there was a bomb explosion in the capital’s Purana Paltan area around 8:45pm. There was no casualty. Later, a bomb disposal team of the CTTC unit collected evidence from the spot.

Rahmatullah Chowdhury, in-charge of the bomb disposal team, told The Daily Star that the elements of the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) were different from the ones they had recovered from different militant hideouts in the past.

The IED was designed to cause massive destruction but it didn’t contain powerful explosives, he said.

The following day, a bag was left unattended on a motorbike in the capital’s Gulistan area. Police found a bomb-like object inside it around 9:30pm and the bomb disposal unit was called in. It turned out to be a bomb hoax.

Talking to this newspaper yesterday, CTTC unit Chief Monirul Islam said no one was hurt in the first blast and the second was a hoax. Inside the bag, there was a sand-filled plastic bottle wrapped in tape.

“We are investigating both the incidents.”

Asked about the latest alert, Monirul said that at the end of last month, the IS in Iraq and Syria urged their followers all over the world to gather ahead of the Eid-ul Azha. The UN also warned that militancy could be on the rise during the Covid-19 pandemic.

All these are global developments and there is “no specific threat” to Bangladesh, he pointed out.

“But still we have taken some measures and remain alert which we always do ahead of Eid to avoid any untoward incident.”

Earlier on February 28 this year, 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”.

 





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