Bangladesh Probes Terror Attack as Government Disputes ISIS Claim of Repsonsibility

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Bangladesh Probes Terror Attack as Government Disputes ISIS Claim of Repsonsibility
Bangladeshi security officials searched on Sunday for evidence and the possible masterminds of the weekend hostage-taking in an upscale restaurant in Bangladesh's capital.

The government has denied claim of responsibility by ISIS for the attack that left 28 dead, including six attackers and 20 of the hostages, among them three students at U.S. universities.

Police released photographs of the bodies of five attackers, along with their first names: Akash, Badhon, Bikash, Don and Ripon. The men belonged to the banned domestic group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB, and their families hadn't heard from them in months, according to police. Asked whether they might also have had ISIS ties, Police Inspector General A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque said authorities were investigating that possibility.

Despite the police saying ISIS links were being investigated, the home minister refuted the possibility that the terror group directed the attack from abroad.

Bangladesh's government insists the extremist Sunni Muslim group based in Syria and Iraq has no presence in the country, and in the past has suggested that any claims of responsibility for violence waged in the South Asian country are simply opportunistic attempts at grabbing global attention.

"They are all Bangladeshis. They are from rich families, they have good educational background," Khan said of the attackers. One surviving suspect was detained when paramilitary forces ended the 10-hour standoff Saturday morning, and authorities said he was being interrogated


Police also released photos of the bodies of five of the attackers, along with their first names: Akash, Badhon, Bikash, Don and Ripon. Police also said the attackers' families haven't heard from the men in several months.

The Bangladeshi government is adamant that ISIS has no presence in the country, and in the past, has said that any claims by ISIS have been an attempt to garner attention.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says her political opponents are attempting to create chaos in the country by backing domestic militants, typically machete-wielding young men targeting individuals whom they believe are "traitors" to Islam. Those who fall into that category are atheist bloggers, LGBT activists, foreign aid workers and religious minorities.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing graphic images from inside the Holey Artisan Bakery, located in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter.

The attackers tortured and killed some of the hostages, most of whom were foreigners. The victims' countries of origin included the U.S, Italy, Japan and India.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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