The two bombs that police found and detonated in the capital’s Paltan and Khamar Bari areas early yesterday were powerful enough to kill people and destroy properties in the surrounding areas, police said.
Law enforcers believe the improvised explosive devices were placed there by “a local militant group”.
The bombs, found by chance, near traffic police boxes at the Paltan and Khamar Bari intersections were similar to each other. Seven cans of bu-tane gas were attached to each of the devices to amplify the explosion and fire, said officials of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.
The bombs could have killed people within 10 to 15 meters, said a CTTC official who examined them. Splinters were found even 150 meters away from where the devices were detonated.
“The use of gas in IEDs had not been seen in Bangladesh before,” said an official preferring anonymity.
The bomb disposal team detonated the IED found in Khamar Bari at 2:52am. The blast caused a 20-25 feet wide fire.
IEDs had been used to hurt policemen in the capital’s Gulistan and Malibagh.
The explosion in Gulistan on April 29 left two traffic constables and a community police member injured. A female assistant sub-inspector and two others were wounded after an IED went off near a police pickup in Malibagh on May 26.
Hours after both explosions, SITE Intelligence Group, an American com-pany that tracks online activity of white supremacist and jihadist organisa-tions, said the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
No one been detained in connection with the Gulistan and Malibagh at-tacks yet.
Earlier, CTTC chief Monirul Islam said militants have the strength to carry out stray incidents. They, however, do not have the ability to organise large attacks.
About yesterday’s incident, Inspector General of Police Mohammad Javed Patwary said, “Local militant groups, which were active earlier, might be behind the incident.”
Replying to a query at a press conference at the Police Headquarters yes-terday, the IGP said police would conduct tests to determine how the bombs were put together and what ingredients were used. “It will take us some time,” he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner of the CTTC’s Special Action Group Sanwar Hossain said they would be able to say more about the bombs after analysing the materials collected from the spot.
“We will also be clear about its trigger, whether those were remote con-trolled or timed devices ...,” he added.
HOW THEY WERE FOUND
A traffic constable said they noticed a carton left beside the police box in Khamar Bari intersection around 5:00pm on Tuesday.
“One of our colleagues took the carton inside the police box thinking it might belong to one of the policemen. When no one claimed it, we thought it was a container of biscuits. We opened it around 7:00pm and saw the cans tied with tapes,” the constable said.
They informed higher officials about the carton and kept it behind the po-lice box.
Specialised teams later cordoned off the area.
One of the two bomb-disposal robots bought from Germany last year was used for the first time. “The remote-controlled robot sent us pictures and gave us an idea about how the IED should be destroyed,” said an official of the CTTC’s Bomb Disposal Unit.
The robot carried the bomb several meters away before it was detonated.
“The area is under CCTV coverage. Our teams are looking into who might have left the bombs there,” a traffic sergeant told The Daily Star.
At Paltan intersection, the bomb was put inside a thick polythene packet beside the traffic police box close to the Bangladesh Secretariat, said Abul Hasan, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station.
The traffic police discovered it around 10:45pm on Tuesday. Later a bomb disposal team detonated it around 1:00am yesterday.
The OC said they were analysing the CCTV footage of the area.