DHAKA (AFP) – More than 100 small bombs have exploded almost simultaneously in towns and cities across Bangladesh, including 15 in the capital Dhaka and 20 in the southeastern port of Chittagong.
A total of 111 explosions occurred near bus and train stations, courts and administrative buildings, various police officials said, adding they appear to have been caused by small, homemade devices.
Police in some affected cities said leaflets — apparently from a recently banned Islamic extremist group calling for the implementation of Islamic law — were found near the scene of the blasts.
Some were written in Arabic and others in Bangla.
"There are bomb blasts all over the country. We have reports of some injuries but no fatalities yet," said Abdul Kaiyum, Bangladesh”s Inspector General of Police.
In addition to Dhaka and Chittagong, police reported nine explosions in the southern town of Barisal and at least six in the southwestern town of Khulna.
Police chiefs in 11 other towns and districts reported a further 61 blasts.
Mazeedul Haq, Chittagong”s police commissioner, said the leaflets bore the name of the banned Jamayetul Mujahideen and read: "It is time to implement Islamic law in Bangladesh. There is no future with man-made law."
Jamayetul Mujahideen and another hardline group, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, were banned in February for alleged links to a wave of bombings of non-governmental groups, holy shrines and other targets.
A police official in Barisal said leaflets had been found there reading: "Bush and Blair, be warned and get out of Muslim countries. Your days of ruling Muslim countries are over."
One person was arrested in Dhaka with blast injuries to his hand, Dhaka police chief Mizanur Rahman said.
Bangladesh with a population of 140 million is the world”s third largest Muslim-majority nation.
Its four-party Islamist-allied coalition government has repeatedly rejected claims that it could have a problem with Islamic extremists.