An autopsy has confirmed that the attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque in northwestern Bangladesh was a suicide bombing, reports said Saturday.
The sole person killed in the attack had his left wrist and his chest badly damaged by the blast impact, Enamul Haque, a forensics lecturer at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, told reporters.
"The man got severe wounds on his left part of body as he was carrying the bomb on that side. So we can say that the deceased is the bomber," The Dhaka Tribune quoted him as saying.
The incident took place during prayers Friday at Mochmoil Syedpur Bokpara Ahmadiyya Jame Mosque in Rajshahi, some 245 kilometers (152 miles) from Dhaka.
Abdullah Al Mahmud, additional deputy inspector general of Rajshahi range police, said the attacker was wearing an explosives vest under his T-shirt, with electric circuits, switches, batteries and wires attached to it, according to The Daily Star.
"Signs are there that it was a suicide attack. But we need some more time to be fully sure about that," he was quoted as saying.
Police have not yet identified the deceased man or made any arrests in the attack. Another man who accompanied the alleged bomber to the mosque fled the scene after the explosion, witnesses said.
In a statement released Saturday on Telegram and Twitter, the so-called Islamic State (IS) group claimed credit for the attack, according to the U.S.-based Site Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist and jihadist activity.
The statement named the deceased man as “Abu al-Fida’ al-Benghali” and said he had “detonated his explosive belt in the polytheist crowds,” according to a translation provided by SITE.
It further claimed that “dozens” were injured or killed in the attack, although police and witnesses said Friday one man was killed and three taken to hospital with injuries.
The bombing came after a string of attacks this year on religious minorities, foreigners, and secular writers in Bangladesh, a majority Sunni Muslim country with a secular constitution.
The attacks were variously claimed by home-grown militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) and by individuals affiliating themselves with IS or al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
The government has denied an IS presence in Bangladesh, saying groups such as banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) are using the IS brand to “add value to their names.”
The attack took place a day after police arrested seven members of the banned militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Dhaka. Authorities said they seized a suicide-bomb vest, 16 homemade grenades and a huge quantity of explosives during the raid in an apartment building in the city’s Mirpur area that lasted 12 hours.
One security expert has argued that the government of Bangladesh needs to acknowledge and investigate the emergence of IS in Bangladesh.
“IS has no operational cells in most countries but they function by recruiting supporters including former terrorists and criminals,” said Rohan Gunaratna, who heads the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“IS’s network is the internet and unless the IS online presence is disrupted, IS will continue to radicalize and militarize a segment of the world's Muslims,” Gunaratna told BenarNews.