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World
13 Apr 2017

Bangladesh executes three militants for 2004 grenade attack

Bangladesh executes Huji chief, aides for 2004 attack

Bangladesh on April 12 executed three militants for a 2004 grenade attack that killed three people and injured several others, including a British ambassador.

While Mufti Abdul Hannan, head of Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (Huji) group, and Sharif Shahedul were executed at Kashimpur jail on the outskirts of Dhaka at 10 pm, Delwar Hossain was hanged in Sylhet central jail at the same time.

In context

Bangladesh executes Huji chief, aides for 2004 attack
The 2004 attack at Shahjalal shrine

Attack

The 2004 attack at Shahjalal shrine

On May 21, 2004, Huji militants hurled bombs at the Shahjalal shrine in Sylhet.

The then British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury, who was visiting, sustained injuries on his leg. About 50 people were injured.

The attackers claimed their purpose was "to avenge the deaths of Muslims in Iraq and across the world by America and Britain".

Death

SC upholds death penalty, president refuses clemency

A local court sentenced the three men to death in 2008. Hannan's brother and another militant were awarded life imprisonment.

The Bangladesh Supreme Court last month upheld death sentences for Hannan, Shahedul and Hossain.

Later, Hannan sought clemency from President Abdul Hamid, but the plea was rejected.

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Mufti Abdul Hannan, Huji leader

Hannan

Mufti Abdul Hannan, Huji leader

Mufti Abdul Hannan took over the Huji, which is responsible for many terrorist attacks in the country, in the late 1990s.

He was also given the death penalty for the 2001 Ramna Batamul attack that killed 10 people at a New Year celebration.

He was accused of a 2004 grenade attack, which targeted then opposition leader PM Sheikh Hasina. 24 people were killed.

Islamic terror

Rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh

There has been a spate in extremist attacks in Bangladesh since around 2013, when thousands of activists launched protests demanding capital punishment for Islamist leaders convicted of war crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence.

What started as revenge killing of protesters expanded to include religious minorities, foreigners, and liberal writers.

Terror groups in Bangladesh compete for influence

Groups

Terror groups in Bangladesh compete for influence

Two main terror groups and their affiliates have operated in Bangladesh: the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, an IS affiliate, and the Ansarullah Bangla Team, a follower of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

Though IS has claimed responsibility for several attacks, experts believe other groups are likely behind many of them.

JMB's attacks have focused on religious minorities, while ABT has targeted liberals and seculars.

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