Police kill suspected Dhaka massacre mastermind
Dhaka: A Canadian man suspected of having planned a July attack on a bakery in Dhaka that left 22 people dead was killed in a shootout with the Bangladeshi Police on Saturday, officials said. The man, Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a 30-year-old Canadian citizen of Bangladeshi descent, was one of three militants killed in the raid outside Dhaka, the capital, the officials said. The Bangladeshi authorities have said Mr Chowdhury planned the July 1 assault on the Holey Artisan Bakery, a restaurant popular with expatriates and middle-class Bangladeshis. Some analysts believe Mr Chowdhury acted as a co-ordinator for the Islamic State militant group in Bangladesh and northeastern India. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in Bangladesh, including the assault on the bakery. The Bangladeshi Police, however, identified Mr Chowdhury as the leader of a new branch of a domestic terrorist group, the Jama’atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, and the government initially denied that the bakery attack had been carried out by members of foreign groups.
Later, officials acknowledged that the attackers might have had links to such groups, including the Islamic State. The shootout on Saturday morning took place at a three-story house in the Narayanganj district near Dhaka, after the Police received a tip that the militants were hiding there, said AKM Kamrul Ahsan, a spokesman. They were given a chance to surrender but attacked the Police with guns and grenades, at which point the Police opened fire, said a Police official, Inspector General AKM Shahidul Hoque, in televised comments to reporters on Saturday. Both officials said Mr Chowdhury was among the militants killed. The Police had offered cash bounties of about $25,000 this month for information leading to the arrest of Mr. Chowdhury and for another militant, Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque, who was suspected of being involved in recent killings of secular writers. Mr. Chowdhury’s name was on a list of 10 high-value suspects released by the Bangladeshi authorities last month after the Holey Artisan Bakery attack, an 11-hour siege carried out by five militants who were eventually killed by soldiers.