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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 18:05 GMT
Nine die in Bangladesh bombings
Medics carry one of the Gazipur wounded in hospital in Dhaka
A survivor of one of the attacks is taken to hospital
At least nine people have been killed and 40 wounded in two bomb attacks near court houses in Bangladesh, police say.

Seven people, one a suspected suicide bomber, died in Gazipur. In Chittagong, two policemen were killed while the alleged bomber was seriously injured.

No group has claimed the blasts. Police are blaming a banned Islamic group.

The BBC's Roland Buerk says if the Gazipur blast is confirmed as a suicide attack it would mark a significant stepping up of a campaign by militants.

The attackers seem to have changed their strategy
Bangladesh police chief Abdul Qaiyum

Bangladesh has been hit by a wave of recent bombings that have targeted judges, journalists and politicians.

The authorities believe the courts and judges are targeted because they symbolise the secular laws in the country.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said the attackers were enemies of the country and democracy.

"Allah will condemn such killers to hell."

'Lawyer's robes'

Police say preliminary investigations suggest the Gazipur bomber had explosives strapped to his body.

I found myself on the floor with pool of blood... it was terrible
Gazipur lawyer Anwar Fakir

Bangladesh police chief Abdul Qaiyum told the BBC that, if confirmed, it would be the country's first suicide bombing.

"The attackers seem to have changed their strategy," he said.

Mr Qaiyum said the attacker had entered the bar library in Gazipur wearing a lawyer's black gown in a bid to evade police security.

Three people died on the spot and four others succumbed to their injuries later in hospital in the capital, Dhaka, about 30km (20 miles) away.

Our correspondent, who visited the library, described a scene of carnage, with blood all over the floor and shoes, glasses and briefing papers scattered among wrecked furtniture.

Lawyer Anwar Fakir suffered severe burns. "I suddenly heard a big bang, and seconds later I found myself on the floor with pool of blood and body parts around me," he told the Associated Press.

The attack in the port city of Chittagong came about the same time, at around 0900 (0300 GMT).

At least 16 people, 13 of them policemen, were wounded in addition to those killed.

"When police on suspicion wanted to check the bomber, he immediately threw a bomb at the police team and then exploded another bomb in his bid to escape," said police constable Kabir Hossain.

Police say the bomber lost both legs in the second blast.

Wave of attacks

The group police suspect is Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, which wants to establish Islamic law in Bangladesh. Most laws in Bangladesh are secular, based on British legal code.

Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen is one of three Islamic groups outlawed after the authorities linked them to a series of blasts.

Lawyers and judges have received threatening letters from the group in the past few weeks.

Earlier this month, two judges were killed in a bomb attack as they travelled to court in southern Bangladesh.

In August more than 400 small devices went off across the country within the space of half an hour, killing two people and injuring more than 100.

Leaflets purportedly left by the militant group at some blast sites have called for the establishment of Sharia law in Bangladesh.

Aftermath of the bomb attacks

Judges killed in Bangladesh blast
14 Nov 05 |  South Asia
Politician killed in Bangladesh
24 Oct 05 |  South Asia
Dhaka struggles to respond to bombs
29 Aug 05 |  South Asia
Bangladesh court bombs kill two
03 Oct 05 |  South Asia
Bombs explode across Bangladesh
17 Aug 05 |  South Asia
Bangladesh and Islamic militants
25 Feb 05 |  South Asia

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