Author : Praveen Swami
Published at (city) : New Delhi
Country concerned : Bangladesh
Language : English
Entry Type : Report
Source : http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/dhaka-terrror-attack-restaurant-hostages-india-intelligence-services-islamic-state-strike-terrorists-2892307/
A mourner in Dhaka’s Gulshan area pays tribute to victims of the attack on Sunday. (AP Photo)
INDIA’S intelligence services had warned of a heightened risk of an Islamic State strike on Dhaka in a series of assessments shared last month, a senior Bangladesh security official told The Indian Express.
The assessments did not contain any intelligence that could have directly helped prevent Friday’s attack, but flagged evidence that Bangladeshi extremists were training at secret facilities in India, said the official. They also warned of heightened Islamic State propaganda, he added.
“The Indian warnings were one of many pieces of intelligence that jihadists were planning a major operation. There were some pieces of the puzzle available to us, but not enough to piece together a picture of the plot,” said the Bangladeshi official.
Bangladesh investigators, another official said, are now focusing their efforts on understanding the training and logistics behind the terrorists who carried out the Dhaka strike — timed to coincide with the last Friday of Ramzan, one of the holiest days of the month of fasting.
In April, the Islamic State’s house magazine Dabiq had threatened future strikes in Bangladesh. And since 2014, the Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen — the main Bangladeshi terror outfit that has now branded itself the Islamic State — had staged a series of execution-style killings of foreign aid workers, religious minorities and political progressives using small arms and machetes. It had also conducted a number of bombings — some, allegedly, from stocks prepared at a secret factory in Burdwan, West Bengal.
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) detectives, who probed a 2014 explosion at the Burdwan facility, also said several men had been imparted bomb-making skills there.
In September 2015, police had discovered a training camp in Daukhanagar, where Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen cadre had imparted basic courses to recruits on using arms.
This April, Assam Police arrested seven people from Chirang district on charges of running a Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen training camp in Amgrui village. Local cleric Joynal Abedin, police alleged, had been recruiting young men from nearby villages to join the camp.
There are large, fairly ungoverned areas along the India-Bangladesh border where arms training could pass undetected for quite some time,” said an Assam Police officer. “Things are further complicated by the fact that there are a large number of criminalised insurgent groups in the region, who could potentially be providers of assault rifles and other weapons,” said the officer.
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