South Asia

Bangladesh: Nine Militants Killed in Police Raid

Security personnel block a road near the site of a police operation on militants on the outskirts Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 26, 2016. Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Files

Security personnel block a road near the site of a police operation on militants on the outskirts Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 26, 2016. Credit: Mohammad Ponir Hossain (Reuters)/Files

Dhaka: Bangladeshi police on Tuesday killed nine militants who were believed to have been plotting an attack similar to the one on a cafe on July 1, in which 22 people were killed, the national police chief said.

Police said the militants were holed up in a building in Kalyanpur on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, and they opened fire on officers as they tried to enter.

The militants, who shouted Allahu akbar, or ‘God is greatest’ as they battled police, were believed to be members of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

“They were wearing black outfits, turbans and had backpacks … similar to the outfits the attackers in the cafe had,” police chief Shahidul Hoque told reporters at the scene after the militants were killed.

One wounded militant was captured, he said.

“They were plotting a major attack in the capital like that in the restaurant,” he said.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the cafe attack but the government has dismissed suggestions that ISIS has a presence in Bangladesh.

Police said JMB was behind the attack by five young Bangladeshis on the upmarket cafe. Most of the 22 people killed there were foreigners and the five attackers were also killed.

Hoque said the militants killed on Tuesday were believed to have been a JMB cell.

“The militant who was detained claimed they were ISIS members, but we think they’re JMB,” he said.

Mostly Muslim Bangladesh has faced a series of attacks on liberal bloggers, academics and members of religious minorities over the past year.

While authorities have blamed the violence on domestic militants, security experts say the scale and sophistication of the assault on the cafe suggested links to a trans-national network.

ISIS has warned that violence would continue until Islamic law was established worldwide, saying in a video the Dhaka cafe attack was just a glimpse of what was to come.

(Reuters)