3 terror suspects killed in Bangladesh police raid

DHAKA (AFP) - Three suspected Islamist extremists were killed in a shootout with elite Bangladesh police who raided a building near the prime minister's office on Friday (Jan 12), a spokesman for the force said.

Director Mufti Mahmud Khan said the suspects exchanged gunfire and threw a grenade at Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officers who cordoned off the building following a tip-off.

"They died in the shootout," Director Khan said, saying all of them were Islamist extremists.

Both the spokesman and local media said the alleged hideout was close to the office of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Her secular government has vowed to root out extremism in Muslim-majority Bangladesh in the wake of numerous attacks by radical groups in recent years.

In July 2016, militants stormed a Dhaka cafe and massacred 22 hostages, including 18 foreigners.

That attack was claimed by the ISIS group, although Ms Hasina's government denies that international radical groups operate inside Bangladesh.

Since the cafe assault, security forces have shot dead more than 70 alleged militants in a major crackdown.