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Bangladesh Leader Vows to Crush Islamic Extremism


Bangladesh's prime minister has vowed to crush Islamic extremism, saying the recent wave of bombings is a conspiracy against the country.

Khaleda Zia made the pledge on Wednesday to tens of thousands of cheering supporters at an anti-terrorism rally in the capital, Dhaka, and organized by the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

Authorities blame the bombings on militants who want to impose strict Islamic law in Muslim-majority but secular Bangladesh. The attacks have killed at least 30 people and wounded some 200 others since August.

Mrs. Zia also rejected opposition demands to step down and call early elections, saying her government will complete the five-year term that expires in October 2006.

Opposition parties, led by the Awami League, accuse the country's four-party alliance of failing to curb religious militancy. The government denies the charges.

Amir Khasru has more on the story.

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