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Bangladeshi women being used as new means for executing Islamic militant attacks

The archetype of a mother, women, now helping to kill their own children

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Four women arrested for assisting in militant activities (Benar news)
  • There are reports that women assisting men in carrying out Islamic militant attacks in Bangladesh. 
  • It is said by those men that they use women because they clear the screenings process easily .
  • Women are not seen as carriers of violence and terrorism.
  • Four women arrested for playing along.

According to news published by an Indonesian news agency BenarNews on July 25, 2016, women are being recruited to facilitate or carry out militant attacks in Bangladesh. The revelations came to light following the arrests of four female suspects a couple of days earlier.

“The JMB members, now, have radicalized their wives. They have been aiding their husbands’ militant activities,” Md Abu Yousuf, an additional superintendent of police in Sirajganj district told BenarNews, referring to the banned group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen.

“On Saturday, we arrested four women, all spouses of fugitive JMB members, from Sirajganj. This is a new trend,” he added.

The suspects, identified as Nadira Tabassum, 30, Habiba Aktar, 18, Rumana Aktar, 21, and Runa Begum, 19, were now in jail, he said.

“We have recovered six Molotov cocktails, different types of explosive and jihadi books from their possession. According to their statements to us, they were planning some attacks,” Yousuf said.

Wome being used as carriers of Islamic Militant attacks Images source:Wikimedia Commons
Wome being used as carriers of Islamic Militant attacks
Images source:Wikimedia Commons

Another local police official, Waheduzzaman, told reporters that the four were planning to carry out attacks in Uttarpara in Sirajganj district, located some 130 kilometers (80 miles) northwest of Dhaka.

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A new phenomenon

The arrests were unusual, especially the arrest of four female suspects at once, police and security experts said.

“The use of women in militant attacks is not often seen in Bangladesh. This is a new phenomenon here. During 2004 to 2006 when the JMB activities were highest, we did not see women have roles in attacks,” Sakhawat Hossain, a security analyst, told BenarNews.

He said women clear security screenings more easily because they are not considered to pose any threat.

“So, the JMB may have adopted the strategy to get weapons to a target site. Even the women can easily go to the spot to gather information about the attack and communicate with the attackers,” Hossain said.

In some cases, militants marry siblings, allowing them to maintain a close group, he added.

“We have also seen that one of Avijit Roy’s killers, Sharif, married the sister of another militant leader. After the marriage, the women get radicalized and help their spouses in militant activities,” Hossain said, suggesting that the law enforcers should rethink their security approach to thwart this tactic.

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Roy, a Bangladeshi-American engineer, science writer and blogger, was hacked to death by suspected extremists in Dhaka in February 2015.

Abdur Rahman, a resident of Sirajganj, said that local people were shocked to learn the four women had been arrested on suspicion of militant activities.

“This is a matter of great pain that the four women had three children and the children are in jail with them,” he told BenarNews.

‘Inter-related’

Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Monday said police had identified the masterminds of the attacks on a café in the Gulshan 2 neighborhood of Dhaka on July 1 and at Eid prayers in Kishoreganj district on July 7. The attacks left 29 and four dead, respectively.

“All attacks are inter-related. …We have come to know everything about all the murders; we have identified who killed them, how and why,” Khan said, without offering more information.

Inspector General of Police A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque on Monday said law enforcers had also identified the sources of the weapons used in the two attacks. He did not give more details, saying such a disclosure could negatively impact the investigation.

The Middle East-based extremist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the café attack, but Bangladeshi authorities say that JMB was behind that attack as well as the attack a week later on the country’s largest Eid prayer gathering. (Benar news)

Next Story

Thousands Displaced as SDF Targeting Civilians Advances on Last IS Territory in Syria

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

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Syria
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands atop a hill in the desert outside the village of Baghuz, Syria, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Islamic State (IS) fighters are targeting civilians who are trying to flee the last territory held by the terror group in eastern Syria, U.S.-backed forces told VOA on Thursday.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-backed Kurdish-led alliance, said that IS militants hit a road used by civilians to escape violence as the battle to free the town of Baghuz in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province enters its sixth day.

“IS has blocked that road to prevent civilians from coming to the SDF,” SDF fighter Ali Ahmed said. “They have targeted civilians there, but we have responded to their attacks against civilians.”

Ahmed said that some families of IS fighters are among the fleeing civilians.

Located near the Iraqi border, Baghuz is the last stronghold held by IS extremists in Syria. With the help of the U.S.-led coalition, SDF fighters have pushed out IS from all territories it once held since 2014.

Fierce fighting between IS militants and the U.S.-backed fighters continues as the latter try to gain ground on Baghuz on several fronts.

“We have two main obstacles as we advance on Baghuz,” Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesperson, told VOA. “The first one is that [IS] terrorists are holding on to a number of civilians to use them as a bargain chip for their exit.”

Bali said the second obstacle for the SDF forces is that IS has a number of hostages who had been arrested and detained by the militants.

IS controls about 5 square kilometers of territory inside the Syrian town, local military officials said.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview. VOA

Ivan Hasib, a Syrian reporter covering the battle, told VOA that he witnessed an unusual movement by U.S. military vehicles in the area.

“It seems that even the Americans are trying to rescue those civilians and hostages from IS,” Hasib said in a phone interview.

He said the remaining IS fighters in Baghuz are hoping to exchange hostages for a safe exit into the Iraqi desert.

Also Read: Islamic State Using Women, Children as Human Shields to Postpone Defeat

“There must be some sort of negotiations between IS and SDF about the hostages, because even [U.S.-led] coalition airstrikes have stopped since Tuesday night,” Hasib said, adding that SDF fighters were forced to pause their military operations on the northeastern front in Baghuz.

“We can’t start marching toward it from this side because of civilians. Many civilians are using this road to this side. So we’re here to protect them,” Mezlum Kobani, an SDF commander, told VOA.

According to SDF officials, more than 5,000 civilians have been rescued from IS in Baghuz. (VOA)