Fresh clashes kill five in Bangladesh over Islamist hanging

Fresh clashes kill five in Bangladesh over Islamist hanging

DHAKA - Bangladesh police opened fire on bomb-throwing Islamist protesters on Monday as five more people died in clashes sparked by the execution of an Islamist leader for war crimes.

Police said trouble broke out in several places in the southeastern district of Satkhira over the hanging last week of Abdul Quader Molla, a top figure from the country's largest Islamist party.

Activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party, wielding home-made weapons and crude bombs, attacked teams of police and paramilitary border guards, police said.

"We fired rifles in self-defence," district deputy police chief Kazi Moniruzzaman told AFP of the clashes before dawn in Satkhira, a Jamaat stronghold.

District administrator Anwar Hossain told AFP five people were confirmed dead in the clashes, while Bengali daily Prothom Alo quoted local sources as saying the victims were Jamaat activists.

Bangladesh has been rocked by a new wave of deadly violence that has left 30 people dead as Islamist supporters vent their fury at Molla's execution last Thursday.

He became the first person to be hanged for his role in the country's bloody 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, after being convicted of rape and mass murder - including the killing of more than 350 unarmed civilians.

The latest violence comes as Bangladesh observes a national holiday Monday to mark victory over Pakistani forces in that war.

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