Bangladesh terrorists were ‘normal middle-aged men’ caught up in the Islamic State, al Qaeda ‘one-upmanship’
As details have emerged from the Dhaka terrorist attack in Bangladesh, which left 22 dead, is the same shocking description: “They seemed like normal, middle-class men.” Somehow these terrorists continue to fly under the radar screen and, as a result, many died at their hand.
Bangladesh is riddled with terrorists, who have murder dozens of secular bloggers, Hindu priests and others over the last 18 months. This July 1 attack is described as “different, both in terms of scale, and the perpetrators,” according the Monday coverage by CNN.
“What’s really puzzling is the background of these attackers,” said Faiz Sobhan of the Dhaka-based Bangladesh Enterprise Institute. “They were normal, regular guys who hung out at cafes, played sports, had Facebook pages.”
Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting minister Hassanul Haq Inna told Indian broadcaster NDTV that the attackers “were from a top school and university in Dhaka … The parents of these boys are normal and have secular credentials.
Bangladesh is in the grips of a battle “between two terrorist groups as to who can kill more,” says Sajjan Gohel, International Security Director of the Asia Pacific Foundation.
“They’re competing with each other in a game of deadly one-upmanship.”
The two local groups, Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team have pledged allegiance to ISIS and al Qaeda respectively.
The six men, dressed in jeans and T-shirts, burst through the door. They stood with their backs to each other and fired indiscriminately as they shouted “Allahu Akbar!” or “God is great.”
Customers dove under tables and chairs. Staffers scampered for safety.
Two police officers arrived at Holey Artisan to investigate, but Detective Rabiul Karim and Officer-in-Charge Salauddin Khan were killed immediately, struck by shrapnel from exploding bombs.