A man was killed when the bomb he was carrying blew up in front of a police checkpoint outside Dhaka’s main international airport on Friday night, the second explosion in a week involving a suicide bomber near the aviation hub, authorities said.
No other people were injured in Friday's bombing close to Hajrat Shah Jalal International Airport, according to officials.
The Dhaka area blast was the latest incident amid a recent cycle of violence by militants in Bangladesh. It came during an ongoing situation in the northeastern city of Sylhet, where police officers and security personnel had surrounded an apartment building since Friday morning (local time), and where suspected militants were believed to be holed up, according to officials.
The extremist group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for Friday night’s blast at the checkpoint outside the airport, according to SITE Intelligence, a U.S.-based website that monitors online communications among Islamic militant groups worldwide.
“For the second time in one week ISIS claimed a suicide bombing in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, the latest targeting a police checkpoint,” SITE quoted Amaq, an IS-run news agency, as saying.
The suspected militant could not be identified immediately because the explosion tore apart his body, but officers said he was in his early thirties.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said the incident was not a suicide bombing and that it was not related to last week’s explosion at a camp near the airport housing Bangladesh’s counter-terrorist Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). On March 17, two RAB members were injured when a suicide bomber approached them and detonated his bomb after scaling a wall and infiltrating the camp, officials said.
The latest incident occurred at 8 p.m. Friday.
Immediately after the explosion, Mia and RAB Director-General Benazir Ahmed went to the site of the blast with crime-scene investigators.
The man who was killed in the explosion carried a tote bag and, as officers approached him, he set off the bomb, Mia told reporters at the checkpoint.
“Some eight to 10 policemen were only few steps away from him. He could have reached them easily if he had intended to blow himself up. But he didn’t. The explosion caused no damage to police or civilians,” Mia said, promising a full investigation.