DHAKA • The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for bombings yesterday that targeted Shi'ites in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, the monitor group SITE said.
It cited ISIS as saying that "soldiers of the Caliphate in Bangladesh" detonated explosive devices during "polytheist rituals".
At least one person was killed and nearly 80 wounded in the attack on the main Shi'ite shrine as thousands gathered for the annual Ashura procession, police said.
Police said they believed it was the first time Bangladesh's tiny Shi'ite Muslim community had been targeted, though the bombing comes just weeks after an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer were shot dead in attacks claimed by ISIS.
Officers said a 14-year-old boy died on the spot after three small bombs were thrown at the complex of the Hossaini Dalan in the old Mughal quarter of Dhaka, at about 2am local time yesterday.
The attacks come as Shi'ites mark the holy month of Muharram. "There were some 20,000 people in and outside the building at that time," deputy commissioner of Dhaka police Mofiz Uddin Ahmed told Agence France-Presse.
Television showed live footage of the chaos in the aftermath of the blasts with fleeing people, many holding flags, and ambulances taking the injured to hospital.
"We've recovered two unexploded bombs. These are like explosive devices and almost like grenades and fitted with batteries," said local police chief Azizul Haq.
Police inspector Mozammel Hoque said most of the injured were hit by bomb splinters. At least one person is in critical condition.
Pakistan's Shi'ites have also suffered sectarian violence recently.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a Sunni extremist group, has claimed responsibility for a suspected suicide bombing which left 24 dead in southern Sindh province, provincial minister Suhail Anwer Siyal said yesterday.
He said the banned group had admitted to being behind the blast in the city of Jacobabad last Friday. The attack occurred outside the residence of a local Shi'ite leader ahead of a religious procession.
LeJ is known to have been behind numerous bloody attacks on minority Shi'ite Muslims, who make up around 20 per cent of Pakistan's 200 million population.
Earlier on Thursday night, 12 people were killed and more than 20 injured in a suicide blast at a Shi'ite mosque in Quetta city in south-western Balochistan province.