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Bomb Explosion at Mosque Kills 3 in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, security has been tightened at a well-known Muslim shrine after a bomb explosion killed three people and injured more than 30 others. Soldiers and police surrounded a 700-year-old Muslim shrine in Bangladesh's northeastern city of Sylhet Tuesday - one day after a blast killed or injured dozens of worshippers.

Police say the bomb exploded Monday night when the Hazrat Shah-Jalal shrine was packed with several thousand people singing and chanting prayers. The devotees had gathered from various parts of the country to mark the death anniversary of a Muslim saint.

The explosion created panic in Sylhet - a city of nearly two million people in the heart of a vast tea-growing region. It is the second time that a Muslim shrine has been targeted in Bangladesh in the past year. A year ago, seven people were killed when a bomb was hurled at a shrine in northwestern Tangail district.

A political analyst in Dhaka, Ataus Samad, says rivalries between followers of different religious saints could have sparked the attack on the shrine in Sylhet. "There could be some kind of feuding going on between the people who manage this shrine, or between various religious sects," he says.

Police are questioning more than 20 suspects including several women in connection with the blast.

More than 70 people have died in explosions in Bangladesh in recent years. In the worst incident, 17 people were killed when bombs ripped through two cinema halls in the northern town of Mymensingh in December 2002.

Bangladesh has also been troubled by rising crime in its cities in recent years. The government launched a major operation in 2002 to check spiraling crime - the operation ended early last year.