Hailing the 1 July Gulshan terror attack, international terrorist group Islamic State had released a video calling for jihad in Bangladesh and threatening more attacks on “crusaders” and “crusader nations.”
The video message, believed to be issued from Raqqa in Bangla was first found in an IS-affiliate website and then released on YouTube early Wednesday.
It came as a follow-up to the dreadful attack on a Gulshan eatery in Dhaka last Friday that killed at least 22 people including 17 foreigners. The five others include two police officers. Police had said that six of the attackers were killed in “Operation Thunderbolt” carried out the next morning to end a 12-hour hostage crisis at O' Kitchen.
IS' Amaq news agency had released the photos of five of their members several hours after the attack broke claiming responsibilities. Police, however, had claimed that most of the attackers were linked to local outlawed militant groups.
In the video, three of the speakers are of Bangladesh origin, but they could not be identified immediately.
One of them said they would not stop until establishing Shariah law all over the world.
“The Holey Artisan incident is our revenge to the lost blood of the hundreds and hundreds of Muslims who were killed,” the second speaker said.
They all want Islamic rule
In its 14th edition of Dabiq magazine published on 13 April, IS claimed that they have organisational base in Bangladesh (they term it Bengal), from where they have plans to attack on India and Myanmar to "avenge the persecution on Muslims."
“We believe the Shariah in Bengal won’t be achieved until the local Hindus are targeted in mass numbers,” said Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, the man leading the operations in Bangladesh, in an interview.
Abu Ibrahim said Bangladesh was important for global jihad because of its geographic position and proximity to India.
Since September last year, IS has claimed responsibilities for at least 25 attacks killing foreigners, non-Muslim and non-Sunni preachers and police. They had also launched bomb and gun attacks on Shia and Ahmadiyya mosques.
Meanwhile, Ansar Al Islam (believed to be outlawed group Ansarullah Bangla Team) which is representing al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in Bangladesh has claimed credit for 13 attacks since 2013 killing a dozen of war crimes trial campaigners, secular bloggers, writers, publishers and LGBT rights activists.
Police said another banned group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB is also responisble for some recent murders and bomb attacks across the country. The outfit has been working in concert with other banned groups and IS with a view of establishing Islamic rule in the country by 2020 incorporating some parts of Myanmar and India, according to detectives. JMB joined the international jihadist platform in 2012.
On the other hand, two intelligence reports had recently mentioned the name of banned international group Hizb ut-Tahrir for their involvement in the series of targeted killings, saying over 450 of its leaders and activists have remaind absconding after getting bail.
One of its members Ghulam Faizullah Fahim was caught by the locals last month while fleeing after hacking a Hindu college teacher in Madaripur. He was later killed in an alleged gunfight between his cohorts and the police.
The group, banned in 2009 for anti-state activities, called for the army to take over power and put them at the helm to establish Caliphate from an online political conference on 4 September last year. Police at that time said they had identified three of the five speakers, but could not arrest them.
In a video message released on 17 June, only two weeks before the Gulshan terror attack, Hizb ut-Tahrir had urged Muslims to join their Islamic revolution and uproot the government terming it tyrant, corrupt and anti-Islam to establish Caliphate.
This article was originally published in Dhaka Tribune.