9 extremists shot dead in gunfight
BANGLADESHI police stormed a militant hideout in a neighbourhood in Dhaka and killed nine suspected Islamist extremists after a gun battle yesterday, officials said.
Police said they belonged to a Bangladeshi group blamed for an attack on a Dhaka cafe earlier this month in which 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, were killed and had been planning another large-scale assault.
“Nine Islamist militants were killed after two hour-long gunfight,” deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masud Ahmed said, adding that another extremist was shot and arrested during the raid in Kalyanpur neighbourhood.
National police chief AKM Shohidul Haque told reporters they suspected all 10 were members of the home-grown extremist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which was blamed for the cafe attack.
Five gunmen stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in the upscale Gulshan neighbourhood on July 1 and killed 20 hostages, including nine Italians and seven Japanese nationals, before commandos ended the siege.
The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack and posted gruesome images of the carnage before the military stormed the cafe.
Bangladeshi authorities have rejected the claim, saying international jihadist networks have no presence in the world’s third-largest Muslim majority nation.
But a police official said the survivor who was rushed to a hospital after the raid said all of those inside the hideout were IS followers.
Police said they cordoned off an apartment building after suspects threw a small hand bomb at officers who were conducting a “block raid” in the area after midnight.
The gunmen exchanged fire intermittently throughout the night and shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is the Greatest”). – AFP