At least two policeman have been killed and five others wounded after a small bomb blew up near a mass Eid prayer congregation in northern Bangladesh, officials said.
At least 200,000 people were gathered near a school in the northern Kishoreganj district when the bomb exploded on the premises of the school on Thursday, according to police and local media.
There were reports of exchanges of gunfire at the scene.
The private Somoy TV station broadcast footage of a gunfight between police and a group of attackers and reported the policeman had been hacked to death.
“They threw a bomb at a police checkpost. A police constable was killed in the explosion. One attacker was killed and another was arrested,” Mahbubur Rahman, a police officer in the district control room, told the AFP news agency.
“The congregation was not affected by the clashes,” Azimuddin Biswas, the district administrator, told AFP.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Al Jazeera’s Maher Sattar, reporting from the capital Dhaka, said large gatherings for the Eid prayers were usually organised with donations from organisations and wealthy business people.
“They usually have very good security because they are such large gatherings,” he said. “They are one of the best protected events in the country.”
The incident comes days after 20 hostages were killed – many of them hacked to death – during a 12-hour siege at a popular restaurant in an upscale suburb of Dhaka.
It was one of the deadliest attacks ever in Bangladesh, where al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group have made competing claims for a series of killings in the past year.
The government has dismissed those statements and insists the violence is homegrown.[Source: Al-Jazeera]