Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Bangladesh hunts hostage crisis clues

Published:Monday | July 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
An unidentified woman reacts as she brings flowers to pay respect to the people who died at Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka's Gulshan area, Bangladesh, on Sunday, July 3.

DHAKA (AP):

Security officials searched yesterday for evidence and the possible masterminds of the weekend hostage-taking in an upscale restaurant in Bangladesh's capital. The government has denied the Islamic State group's claim of responsibility for the attack that left 28 dead, including six attackers and 20 of the hostages.

Police released photographs of the bodies of five attackers, along with their first names: Akash, Badhon, Bikash, Don and Ripon. The men belonged to the banned domestic group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, and their families hadn't heard from them in months, according to police. Asked whether they might also have had Islamic State ties, Police Inspector General A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque said the authorities were investigating that possibility.

Despite the police saying IS links were being investigated, the home minister refuted the possibility that the Islamic State directed the attack from abroad. Bangladesh's government insists the extremist Sunni Muslim group based in Syria and Iraq has no presence in the country, and in the past has suggested that any claims of responsibility for violence waged in the South Asian country are simply opportunistic attempts at grabbing global attention.

"They are all Bangladeshis. They are from rich families, they have good educational background," Khan said of the attackers. One surviving suspect was detained when paramilitary forces ended the 10-hour stand-off Saturday morning, and the authorities said he was being interrogated.