Christian home targeted in Bangladesh bomb attack


Unidentified attackers hurled crude bombs at the home of a Christian family in Bangladesh on Tuesday leaving two people injured, police said, amid rising attacks on religious minorities in the Muslim-majority nation. The attackers targeted the home just after midnight in the mainly Christian hamlet in Bangladesh's western Chuadanga area, injuring 45-year-old Alam Mondol on his verandah.

Local villagers tried to chase away the attackers who retaliated by throwing more of the small, homemade bombs, injuring another man.

"Mondol was injured after (wooden) splinters hit his left hand and hip," local police chief Liaqat Hossain said. "Both the injured are Christians," Hossain told journalists.

Another officer, Chuadanga district chief Rashidul Hasan, said police suspect "attempted robbery" as the motive after the attackers "tried to break into his house and demand money".

But the attack comes amid a string of murders of Christians, Hindus and members of other religious minorities across the country by suspected militants, as Bangladesh reels from rising Islamist violence. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the hacking to death on Saturday of a 50-year-old Hindu tailor by three unknown attackers. The jihadist group said the tailor "was known for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad".

Two gay activists were also hacked to death last week, attacks claimed by a Bangladeshi branch of Al-Qaida, while a liberal English professor was killed days earlier.

Suspected Islamists have murdered at least 30 members of religious minorities, secular bloggers and other liberal activists, foreigners and intellectuals in Bangladesh in the past three years. The government denies that IS and Al-Qaida are behind the attacks, saying they have no known presence in Bangladesh. The secular government and the police have instead blamed local banned militant groups for the attacks.

A long-running political crisis in officially secular Bangladesh has radicalised opponents of the government and analysts say Islamist extremists pose a growing danger. Christians and Hindus make up less than 10 percent of Bangladesh's 160 million population of mainly Sunni Muslims.    (AFP)

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