South Asia

Bangladesh Security Forces Kill Dhaka Cafe Attack “Mastermind”

Dhaka: Bangladesh security forces killed four militants on Saturday, including the alleged mastermind of the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka last month in which 22 people, mostly foreigners, were killed.

The militants were cornered in an early morning raid on their hideout in Naraynganj, on the outskirts of the capital, and were killed after refusing to surrender, said additional commissioner Monirul Islam, the head of Dhaka’s counter-terrorism police unit.

Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, the alleged mastermind of the attack on the cafe, was among those killed.

Islam earlier said the raid was conducted upon information received from an arrested operative of the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

ISIS had claimed responsibility for the cafe attack and, while the government has dismissed the claim, security experts say the scale and sophistication of the assault suggested links to trans-national networks.

Analysts say ISIS in April identified Chowdhury as its national commander.

According to the police, Chowdhury might have developed a network of financiers during him time in Canada, before coming to Bangladesh in 2013.

Earlier this month, the police had announced a Tk 2 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

On the evening of July 1, suspected Islamist militants singled out non-Muslims and foreigner hostages in an attack on the popular Holey Artisan Bakery, killing Italians, Japanese, an American and an Indian before security forces stormed the eatery to end the 12-hour siege that has weighed on Bangladesh’s multi-billion dollar garments industry.

The government says the July 1 attack – and another on July 26 in which police killed nine militants believed to be plotting a similar assault – were the work of domestic militants.

(With Reuters and PTI inputs)