Dhaka – Bangladesh has denied the Islamic State militants claim that it carried out the attacks on a restaurant in Dhaka where the suspected Islamists killed 20 hostages and two security officials, officials said Sunday.
Inspector General of Police Shahidul Hoque told reporters that the attackers had no link with IS.
Five dead militants out of the six were on the list of law-enforcement agencies, he added.
“Police were in the hunt of arresting them and there were drives to nab them several times. They are all Bangladeshi militants,” the chief of the police was quoted to have said by state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency,
The police headquarters has also released photographs of the bodies of the suspected attackers, hours after the rescue operation.
The authorities on Sunday launched investigation into the bloody siege.
Forensic experts from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and National Security Agency entered the Holey Artisan Bakery, where the terrorists holed up overnight Friday and killed most of the hostages, to find clues of the attacks.
“We have launched the search to find evidences to know more about the attackers,” CID officer Abul Hasan told reporters outside the scene, restricted for visitors.
Bangladeshi troops stormed the restaurant Saturday in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone to end the siege, and killed six terrorists, before recovering the bodies of 20 civilians – nine Italians, seven Japanese, three Bangladeshis and one Indian national.
Thirteen civilians were rescued alive during the operation.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who announced two days of mourning to after the deadly attacks, said her government will track down the terrorists and their patrons.
“We must find out the roots of the culprits who gave arms and explosives to the terrorists for committing the barbaric attack on the restaurant,” she said when Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Kihara called on her Sunday.
The national flag was flown half-mast atop all public buildings besides hoisting black flags to mourn the victims of the deadliest-ever terrorists attack in Bangladesh. Special prayers at religious institutions were arranged seeking blessings of the departed souls of the victims.
Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack.