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14 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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No proof of Akayed’s terror link at home

Staff Reporter
No proof of Akayed’s terror link at home

Bangladesh Police have not found any evidence of New York blast accused Akayed Ullah’s involvement in militant activities at home. On Monday morning, Akayed allegedly set off an explosion in a pedestrian subway tunnel in the heart of midtown Manhattan in New York, injuring three pedestrians and himself.

Monirul Islam, the chief of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, spoke to the media about Akayed at the DMP Media Centre in Dhaka’s Minto Road, on Wednesday. Monirul said the police are yet to get any information about whether Akayed was involved with any political party, before he left for the US. There is no evidence yet that he was involved with any militant organization in Bangladesh. After going to the US, he could have got involved in militant activities through the internet.

Monirul mentioned that the police are ready to help the US government with the investigation. Police sources in Dhaka said Akayed’s wife, parents-in-law, and brother-in-law were taken to the CTTC office at Minto Road, for interrogation.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said that police are interrogating Akayed Ullah's family members to determine whether they have any terrorist link.

"Police will take action if they find any link," said the minister while talking to reporters after a meeting with the top officials of the law enforcing agencies at his ministry's conference room of secretariat on countrywide security measures for celebrations of the Christmas Day and the 31st December to avoid any kind of untoward incident.

According to a criminal complaint, on the day of his attack in the pedestrian subway tunnel in the heart of New York, Akayed took to Facebook and wrote: "Trump you failed to protect your nation".

Akayed faces a number of federal and state terrorism charges after he allegedly detonated a device made of a battery, wires, metal screws and a Christmas tree lightbulb during the busy morning commute. Five people were treated for minor injuries at area hospitals, while the suspect was said to be seriously injured.

In an interview with investigators, Ullah admitted that he built and detonated the device and said he was inspired to do so by ISIS. “I did it for the Islamic State,” Ullah told investigators, according to the federal complaint.

He faces five federal terrorism-related charges and three state terrorism-related charges, according to court documents.  Akayed’s family was originally from Sandwip Colony in Chittagong. His father shifted the family to Dhaka’s Hazaribagh some 30 years ago. Some six or seven years ago, they moved to the US. A few years ago, his father died in the US. Akayed used to drive a taxi, after shifting to the US. Later, he took up work as an electrician in a housing firm. He lives in Brooklyn.

Police said Akayed came to Dhaka to get married, in January last year. His father-in-law Julfiqer Haider works in a shopping mall in Bashundhara City. Akayed’s child was born on June 10 this year. He last came to Bangladesh on September 8 and left for the US on October 22.

After he set off the blast, Akayed was arrested and admitted to hospital. US police officials said he tied explosives to his body, attempting a suicide attack. They believe Akayed was inspired by some militant group, like the Islamic State.

Akayed’s cousin Emdadullah has told the police that Akayed went to his ancestral home in Sandwip only twice. The first time was some two years ago. He went to his village after the death of his father in the US. Emdadullah described Akayed as a gentleman and said he used to pray regularly and fast. “He is a gentleman. We cannot believe that he can be involved in extremism,” the police chief quoted Emdad as having said.

Sources said Akayed did not have any criminal record in Dhaka.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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