Gunmen storm Shia mosque, kill muezzin | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 27, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:50 AM, November 27, 2015

Gun attack kills 1 at Shia mosque in Bangladesh

3 including imam bullet-hit as attackers open fire on people during evening prayers in Bogra mosque

In a second attack on Shia Muslims in just over a month, armed assailants yesterday stormed a Shia mosque in Shibganj upazila and opened fire on praying people, killing one and injuring three others.

The dead is Moazzem Hossain, 70, of Haripur. He was a farmer and also muezzin of the mosque.

It was not clear who carried out the attack or why. Police said they were looking into the incident.

Three gunmen stormed the mosque named Masjid Al Hussain at Haripur bus stop in Atmul union and started shooting randomly at 30 to 40 Shia Muslims, according to locals and police.

The attack happened around 5:45pm when they were saying their Esha prayers after Maghrib prayers. The Shia community offers these two prayers one after another without a break.

Moazzem Hossain was hit in the head. He was taken to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital where he died, said Dr SM Zahidul Islam of the hospital.

The injured are Shahinur Islam, 35, imam of the mosque; Abu Taher, 60, a mason; and Aftab Hossain, 42, said locals.

All the four were first taken to Shibganj Upazila Health Complex. But as the condition of Moazzem and two others deteriorated, they were shifted to the Medical College Hospital.

The shooting came hours after detectives in Dhaka claimed to have identified five people over the attack on Hossaini Dalan on the night of October 24.

The bomb attack on Ashura gathering happened when people were gathering at the building, about half an hour before the traditional Tajia procession was to be brought out from there to mark the holy Ashura.

The day marks the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA), and the Shia community has been observing the day for centuries. But it was the first time that they came under such an attack in Bangladesh. Shias are minority in the country.

Two people died in that attack and more than 100 others were injured.

During yesterday's shooting, Moazzem's nephew Mohammad Ukil Mia was inside the mosque, praying. He said the windows were closed and the gunmen attacked through the doors.

“We heard four gunshots and everyone started screaming. I saw four people lying on the floor," he said.

Ukil, a rickshaw-van puller, said the attackers fled immediately after the shooting.

In Haripur, there are some 135 Shia families and they have no feud with anyone, Abu Zafar, a member of the mosque committee, told the BBC Bangla Service last night. The Shia mosque was built there in 1992.

Zafar suspect those who oppose the Shia faith had a hand in this.

"We are surprised and stunned. But we will continue to say our prayers [in the mosque], but will remain alert.”

Quoting the injured imam, Ariful Rahman Mandal, additional superintendent of Bogra police, said three gunmen took part in the shooting. Two of them were dressed in shirts and trousers and the other was wearing Panjabi.

The attackers jumped over the wall of the mosque and fled, Ariful said, quoting the imam.

MM Firoz Hossain, superintendent of Hossaini Dalan, said they were extremely shocked and panicked by the shooting. "We are feeling insecure now."

Firoz also said the government should ensure security of their establishments.

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