2 suspected extremists killed in police raid on Dhaka hideout

DHAKA • Bangladeshi security forces raided a suspected Islamist extremist hideout in Dhaka on Monday, killing at least two militants, police said, as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group claimed to have wounded three policemen in a bombing.

Police commandos were met with gunfire on arriving at a house in the capital's Bosila neighbourhood after midnight, said Lieutenant-Colonel Ashique Billah.

This was followed by an explosion which demolished the walls of the house.

Bangladesh launched a crackdown on Islamist extremism after an attack in July 2016 when ISIS-inspired militants stormed a Dhaka cafe, killing 22 people, including 18 foreigners.

"Our bomb disposal unit found the body parts of two militants in the house. The explosion was so powerful that it tore apart the bodies and shook the whole area," Lt-Col Billah said. Four other people were detained.

Separately, in their first claimed attack in Bangladesh in more than two years, ISIS militants said they "detonated an explosive device" on a group of police, the Site Intelligence Group reported.

According to the US-based group which monitors extremist activity, the brief statement from ISIS said the explosion wounded three police officers on a road to Dhaka's Gulistan market.

In March 2017, ISIS said it carried out explosions in the city of Sylhet. Police said six people died in those blasts as commandos stormed an Islamist hideout. The government at the time rejected ISIS' claim and blamed a banned home-grown organisation for the strike.

Since the 2016 attack, security forces have staged nationwide raids in which, they say, nearly 100 members of two Islamist groups have been killed. Hundreds of suspects have also been detained.

Bangladesh has boosted security since the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, which were carried out by extremists affiliated to ISIS.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2019, with the headline '2 suspected extremists killed in police raid on Dhaka hideout'. Print Edition | Subscribe