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World View: Bangladesh Recovers from Four-Day Terror Attack in Sylhet

A family in Bangladesh has been arrested after using a fake penis to trick villagers into believing a genie had performed a sex change on their teenage daughter, police said

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Bangladesh recovers from a four-day terror attack in Sylhet
  • ISIS claims credit for Sylhet Bangladesh terror attack

Bangladesh recovers from a four-day terror attack in Sylhet

Apartment building in Sylhet were terror attack took place (ISPR)
Apartment building in Sylhet were terror attack took place (ISPR)

Bangladesh’s army on Monday said that all militants involved in a four-day terror attack in Sylhet, in northeastern Bangladesh, have been killed. The army says that the anti-terrorism operation has not yet been completed, because the building may be booby-trapped with numerous improvised explosive devices.

The army commandos on Monday shot dead the remaining militants wearing suicide vests. The militants were equipped with small arms, explosives and grenades, and laid out booby traps at different corners of the building, creating a situation which slowed down the operations progress at the building.

The four-day siege began on Friday. On Saturday, two powerful bombs exploded, killing six people, including two police officers, and injuring about 50, including two army officers. Since Friday, 12 people have been killed.

One of the dead militants was a woman, part of an increasing trend in the participation of female jihadists. Bangladesh’s police crime management believes that the use of women is a sign of desperation, as the militant groups become weaker:

Militants now cannot carry out their activities in an organized way as they’ve got scattered due to repeated crackdowns by Police and RAB. So, they’re now desperate and preferring to conduct suicide attacks. As they’re getting alienated from their own groups, the militants are now trying to motivate their family members to indulge in militant activities.

The Bangladeshi authorities discovered the first female jihadist unit in July 2016, and arrested four female militants, including the “advisor” of the women’s unit.

Dhaka Tribune and India TV News and South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP – India)

ISIS claims credit for Sylhet Bangladesh terror attack

There are numerous indigenous militant groups in Bangladesh, most notably Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which has taken credit for a number of terrorist attacks. In recent months, terror attacks in Bangladesh have killed at least 70 Bangladeshis and some foreigners.

No indigenous jihadist group has taken credit for the Sylhet terror attack, although JMB is suspected as the perpetrator. On the other hand, the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) has taken credit for it, through its public relations agency Amaq al-Akhbariyah.

The ISIS question has stirred a debate in Bangladesh. The government says that ISIS has not come to Bangladesh and that all terror attacks are indigenous. Some journalists are ridiculing this position. One particularly telling example occurred in July of last year, at the Holey Artisan in Dhaka, where five gunmen killed 29 people. ISIS’s public relations agency posted pictures of some of the dead victims on its website while the terror attack was still in progress.

So what does it mean for ISIS, which is a Syrian organization, to take credit for a terror attack halfway around the world in Bangladesh? No reports indicate that there were any Syrians in Bangladesh taking part in any of these attacks. The militants were all Bangladeshi. So what does it mean for ISSI to take credit?

We know that some militant groups “pledge allegiance” to ISIS, whatever that means. Obviously, in the case of the Holey Artisan attacks, indigenous militants can be in contact via mobile phones to ISIS’s public relations agency. Perhaps ISIS is providing money to some indigenous militant groups, but that seems unlikely, given that ISIS in Syria has little money to spare for its own operations.

There is a creeping fear that ISIS taking over the world, when in fact, as far as I know, ISIS is simply taking credit for any terror attacks it can, even though it has nothing to do with them. That is a great public relations stunt, but it seems more like a sign of desperation than anything else.

However, as I have written several times in the past, many of these terror attacks are an outcome of the bloody civil war of 1971 that created the nation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. There are two ethnic groups in Bangladesh, the dominant Bengalis and the subservient Biharis, an outcome of the 1971 civil war. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of Biharis living in refugee camps in filthy conditions, with the largest camp just north of Dhaka. This situation is a breeding ground for terrorists and is a better explanation for what’s going on than ISIS. Daily Star (Dhaka) and Dhaka Tribune and VOA and AP

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Bangladesh, Sylhet, Dhaka, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Amaq al-Akhbariyah, Bengalis, Biharis, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, JMB, East Pakistan
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