By NIDA NAJAR and JULFIKAR ALI MANIK
NEW DELHI — The Islamic State, in statements attributed to it, claimed responsibility for an attack near the Bangladeshi capital that left one police officer dead and another wounded, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity online.
The attack took place Wednesday morning at a checkpoint along a street about 30 miles from the capital, Dhaka, in what appeared to be the first assault on representatives of the Bangladeshi state to be claimed by the Islamic State. It comes as extremist violence is rising, and as threats against vocal secularists in the country are increasing.
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, claimed the attack in a message circulated online, SITE said late Wednesday.
“In a security operation, Allah enabled the soldiers of the state in Bangladesh to attack a police checkpoint,” SITE quoted the group as saying, and “the soldiers of the caliphate withdrew safely.”
The disconnect between Bangladesh and foreign intelligence agencies has confused Bangladeshis and foreigners alike, and could complicate anti-terrorism efforts.Bangladesh Pushes Back as
A police official said two men rode up on a motorcycle to the checkpoint in the Baroipara area between 7:35 and 7:45 a.m., as five officers were preparing for a new shift. They were putting on helmets and other gear and were not carrying their weapons, said Habibur Rahman, the superintendent of police in the Dhaka district.
The men stabbed two constables who were standing apart from the rest and opened fire before escaping on their motorcycle, the superintendent said.
United States officials have expressed concern over possible threats the Islamic State poses in Bangladesh, and the group, in social media messages, also appears to have claimed responsibility for a series of other attacks. Those include the killing of two foreigners this year, and the bombing of a large gathering of Shiites last month that killed a teenage boy and wounded dozens of people.
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