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Police kill Islamist in Bangladesh mob attack

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Bangladeshi police shot dead an Islamist supporter on Thursday as they tried to fend off a mob attack by some 2,000 opposition activists angered by the ongoing war crimes trials of their leaders.

Police said 2,000 supporters of the country's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, attacked a group of 90 officers at a village in the western Jhenidah district after they tried to arrest some Jamaat activists.

"They attacked us with sticks and rocks. They smashed our cars. As the situation went out of control, we had to open fire," local police officer Rashid Uddin told AFP.

"One Jamaat supporter was killed in gunfire," Uddin said adding eight police were also injured in the clashes.

A total of 88 people have been killed in clashes since January 21 when a domestic war crimes court handed down the first of its verdicts in cases dating back to the 1971 war of independence.

Jamaat has been staging a series of nationwide strikes and violent demonstrations in recent months to protest the trials which have seen almost the entire party leadership in the dock.

Two of its leaders have already been convicted, including a vice-president of the party who was sentenced to death last month.

The party has said the trials are based on bogus charges, part of a witch-hunt against the opposition. Two leaders of the main opposition, Bangladesh Nationalist Party are also standing trials for war crimes.

The government rejects the claims, saying the trials are needed to heal the wounds of the 1971 war of independence, in which it says three million people were killed and 200,000 women raped.

Independent estimates put the death toll between 300,000 and 500,000

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130321/police-kill-islamist-bangladesh-mob-attack