Admittedly, the bombs were small affairs and Bangladesh is a country few outside its region pay much attention to. But still – as reported by Shafiq Alam and Helen Rowe in the Australian – the bombing campaign on August 17 was extraordinary and presumably without precedent:
Around 350 small homemade bombs exploded within an hour of each other yesterday, in almost every town or district across the country, killing two people and injuring more than 100. Many of the improvised bombs were placed in front of government offices, courts, hotels, and bus and railway stations. "We launched a nationwide crackdown and so far we have arrested 87 people," Bangladesh's Inspector General of Police, Abdul Kaiyum, said. "Our forces are everywhere. We are on the highest alert." … Home Ministry officials said leaflets from the outlawed Jamayetul Mujahideen, [DP: link added] calling for the installation of Islamic law, had been found at all of the bomb sites. Police said some leaflets had also warned Britain and the US to "get out of Muslim countries".
A subsequent report counts over 500 bombs exploding in the capital city and 63 of the country's 64 district headquarters, killing two persons and injuring about 140.
And just to prove that denial is also a river in Bangladesh: "The Islamist-allied coalition Government describes the nation as moderate Muslim, and has repeatedly rejected any suggestion that there could be a problem with Islamic extremists." Worse, the authorities insist on barking up the wrong tree:
Strangely, the [Bangladeshi security] agencies did not discuss evidence blaming the blasts on the Jama'atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB), but rather made oblique reference to the opposition party, the Awami League. … While [State Minister for Home, Lutfozzaman] Babar asked the agencies to launch countrywide raids to nab the terrorists, he also gave instructions that madrassas and mosques should not be raided unless there was any specific information. Intelligence officials even said that the blasts were triggered to tarnish Bangladesh's image abroad, adding that the recent London bombings had inspired the blasts.
Comments: (1) It is not hard to imagine 350 large bombs going off in an hour and a country becoming truly terrorized. (2) The first reaction of the security agencies suggests that it won't be that hard to pull off this scenario again, at least in Bangladesh. (August 18, 2005)
Oct. 26, 2005 update: Maulana Hafizur Rahman, a leader of JMB sent a letter containing A threat to blow up all the police stations of Bangladesh unless Islamic law is implemented under the aegis of an Islamic constitution.
June 16, 2006 update: Marking the June 15 anniversary of the Islamists' "Free Pattani State" in the south of Thailand, they set off fifty bombs, killing at least three people and injuring scores. Twelve bombs went off in Yala province, 18 in Pattani, and 20 in Narathiwat.
Feb. 19, 2007 update: From a New York Times report:
At least 28 bombs exploded in the largely Muslim south of Thailand on Sunday[, Feb. 18,] in escalating violence that has included bombings, shootings, beheadings and arson attacks in recent months. Officials said eight people were killed and more than 50 wounded in the bombings, which seemed intended to cause death and injury, and disruption of government services. Hotels, karaoke parlors, commercial areas and power grids were bombed and two schools were burned, apparently as part of a Muslim insurgency that has taken more than 2,000 lives since the violence erupted in early 2004.
Mar. 30, 2007 update: Six Islamist terrorists – including Shaikh Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai , the leader and deputy leader of the outlawed Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) – were hanged, in part for their part in organizing the hundreds of blasts across Bangladesh in 2005.
Aug. 15, 2011 update: "A relentless barrage of bombings killed 63 people Monday in the most sweeping and coordinated attack in Iraq has seen in over a year, striking 17 cities from northern Sunni areas to the southern Shiite heartland." A later count found 42 coordinated attacks killing 89 and wounding 315.
Apr. 27, 2012 update: Four bombs went off in one hour in Dnepropetrovsk, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine.
July 24, 2012 update: According to the New York Times,
"In a coordinated display intended to show they remain a viable force, Iraqi insurgents launched at least 40 attacks throughout the country Monday, setting off car bombs, storming a military base, attacking police in their homes, and ambushing checkpoints, Iraqi authorities said. More than 100 people were killed and more than 300 wounded in the single bloodiest day in Iraq in two years, according to Iraqi officials in the many areas where attacks took place. … The offensive was without precedent this year, at least in the sheer number of attacks, spread over so many locations in a third of Iraq's 18 provinces, from north to south. It was sure to raise concerns about the government's ability to contain the violence six months after the last US troops left the country. The death toll was the worst for a single day in Iraq since May 10, 2010, when a string of nationwide attacks killed at least 119 people.
Related Topics: Radical Islam, Terrorism
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