Suicide bomber blows up at Ahmadi mosque in Bangladesh, 10 injured

Dhaka: A suicide bomber today blew himself up at a packed mosque of minority Ahmadi community during Friday prayers in northwestern Bangladesh, wounding 10 people, the latest in a series of attacks on minorities.

The blast took place when the mosque at Bagmara town, some 250 kilometres from Dhaka, was packed with worshippers during Friday prayers amid the nationwide celebration of Eid-e-Milad-un Nabi, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad.

"The explosion killed the suicide bomber and injured 10 others," a police officer said.

According to local media reports, the attacker exploded the bomb that he had concealed under his garments.

Police was yet to confirm the identity of the bomber but suspected that the attack was plotted by an Islamist group. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but in recent months, homegrown outlawed militant group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bomb attacks on a shrine and a mosque of minority Shia Muslims in northern Bangladesh.

Members of other minority groups, including Sufis - who adhere to a mystical form of Islam - have also been attacked and killed in recent months, and two Christian priests have survived attacks claimed by Islamist militants.

A spokesman of the Ahmdia community, which is considered by rightwing Islamic schools as non-Muslims, said two unidentified people came to the mosque where nearly 100 people including women had gathered for the Friday prayers.

Bagmara area is the hometown and stronghold of outlawed JMB kingpin Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai, who was executed along with three other top leaders of the Islamist group in 2007. Today's attack came as Muslim majority Bangladesh today celebrated the birth anniversaries of Prophets Mohammad and Jesus Christ amid festivity and tight security.

Bangladesh has seen several violent incidents in recent months, including attacks on foreigners and secular bloggers claimed by the IS, although the government says the attacks have been carried out by local Islamist radical groups.

Last week, six people were injured when two Molotov cocktails exploded at a mosque inside a major naval base in Bangladesh's port city of Chittagong after Friday prayers.

The attacks have alarmed the international community and raised concerns that religious extremism is growing in the traditionally moderate South Asian nation.

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