DHAKA – Bangladesh police raided a hideout of suspect militants in the country’s capital, killing nine militants. The police also seized explosives, revolvers and black flags from the hideout.
Officials said that they stormed the fourth floor of a rented block of flats in the Kallyanpur area at 5am on Tuesday morning, where they killed nine men suspected of having ties to terrorist organisations. The police said that the suspects were university students and some of their ID cards were recovered from their clothes.
Authorities were investigating the men’s ties, but evidence showed they likely were from the banned local group Jumatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, said A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque, Bangladesh’s police chief. The JMB is blamed for the July 1 attack in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic area, where 20 people were killed which including Italians and Japanese citizens, when gunmen attacked a restaurant frequented by expats.
Hoque said that the suspects tried to flee by shooting their way out, but instead got shot by the police.
Asaduzzaman Mia, Dhaka’s Police Commissioner, said that the police recovered grenades, revolvers, explosives, knives and two black flags in the raid. He said evidence suggested that the suspects belonged to the same group as the restaurant attackers. “We have yet to confirm the identities of the people killed today. Our team is working,” he said.One militant was reportedly arrested and was being treated for bullet wounds at a local hospital.
One policeman was slightly injured in the raid and was taken to a hospital.
Daesh has claimed responsibility for the restaurant siege on July 1 and previous attacks on atheist bloggers, foreigners and minority groups. However, government authorities have insisted that the group does not have any presence in Bangladesh and instead blamed all terrorist attacks on local militant groups like JMB.
– Ranjay Bose, Correspondent (Asia: South)