Al Qaeda outfit threatens to blow up Bangladesh bridge


Dhaka : An Islamist outfit calling itself Zadid (New) Al Qaeda has threatened to blow up the Hardinge Bridge, a key rail link between the south-western and the northern regions of Bangladesh, prompting tightening of vigil by army and security forces.

Support TwoCircles

Built during 1910-12 by the erstwhile British Indian government, the steel bridge over the Padma river is located near the industrial city of Pabna in west-central Bangladesh. It had been an important rail stop in years before the 1947 partition of India for trains from Calcutta (now Kolkata) bound for Assam and Darjeeling.

It is at present the principal link bridge on the Padma in Bangladesh, and the location where water released by India under the Ganga Water Treaty of 1997 is measured.

Zadid Al Qaeda sent a letter to a senior railway official Thursday threatening to blow up the bridge prompting an immediate security alert, The New Nation reported Saturday.

The Islamist outfit earlier this month exploded bombs at Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet railway stations, in which one person was injured, and left at the scenes aluminium plates inscribed on it a call for "the holy war" against the minority Ahmadiyyas. It also ordered all NGO activists to quit their jobs by May 10.

The threat came even as newspapers reported that banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) remnants have regrouped with fellow militants of other extremist outfits to carry forward the self-assigned task of Islamic rule.

This is after six top JMB leaders were executed in March for killing two judges. Bangladesh has since witnessed several retaliatory actions, including the killing of the police prosecutor.