The militants who killed 20 people at a Dhaka restaurant were members of a homegrown extremist group and not followers of the Islamic State (IS), Bangladesh’s home minister said on Sunday.
Rejecting the IS claims of responsibility, Asaduzzaman Khan also said that the attackers made no demands when officials tried to enter into negotiations.
Three of the six gunmen killed were under 22 years of age and had been missing for six months, Khan told Reuters in an interview.
Meanwhile, a person taken alive by police was only a suspect, the minister said.
Gunmen stormed an upmarket restaurant in the diplomatic zone late on Friday and killed their mostly non-Muslim hostages, including nine Italians and seven Japanese.
Police and government officials have said the attackers were from well-off Bangladeshi families.
IS had earlier claimed responsibility, warning citizens of “crusader countries” that they would not be safe “as long as their aircraft are killing Muslims”.
It also posted pictures of five grinning fighters in front of a black flag who it said were involved in the attack, according to the SITE monitoring website.
But Khan said IS was not involved, reiterating the government’s position that home-grown militants were responsible for a spate of killings in the country in recent months, including the latest one.
The minister has blamed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, which claims to represent IS in Bangladesh but has no proven links to it.
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