- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

DHAKA, Bangladesh — More than 100 homemade bombs planted by suspected Islamic militants exploded nearly simultaneously across Bangladesh yesterday, killing two persons, including a young boy, and wounding at least 125.

About 50 people were arrested, a state-run news agency reported. There was no claim of responsibility, but leaflets from a banned group seeking the imposition of Islamic law were found at many blast sites.

Police said the bombs apparently were designed to cause limited damage. The blasts killed a bicycle rickshaw driver in the northern town of Chapainawabganj and a 10-year-old boy in the central town of Savar.

The explosions created panic and massive traffic jams in a number of cities, as people fled for safety and rushed to schools to bring their children home.

Security was stepped up, with police posted at major intersections to check vehicles and frisk pedestrians for bombs.

At least 125 persons were injured in more than 100 blasts, the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.

Leaflets from the Jumatul Mujahedeen were found at many blast sites, police said. The group wants to establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh, an overwhelmingly Muslim nation governed by secular laws.

“It’s an organized attack,” Lufuzzaman Babar, a top official in the Home Ministry, told the local TV station ATN Bangla. “It’s not a simple incident.”

Three men were arrested in the southern district of Cox’s Bazaar for carrying or hurling bombs, police said. In the city of Chittagong, police arrested two men carrying homemade bombs and firecrackers.

In Dhaka, police were questioning a hospitalized man who reportedly was injured while purportedly carrying a bomb near two hotels.

Earlier this year, the government outlawed Jumatul Mujahedeen and another Islamic group, Jagrata Muslim Janata, for their purported involvement in a spate of killings, robberies and bomb attacks in recent years.

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