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Bangladesh police kill 9 militants in shootout

27 July 2016

Nine militants were killed in a gun battle with police officers who had surrounded their hideout in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, the authorities said Tuesday. Another militant was wounded and in custody.

A spokesman for the Dhaka metropolitan police, Masudur Rahman, said the police had learned of the hide-out, a house in the Kallyanpur neighborhood. Under the cover of darkness, a large force mobilized around the house, including a bomb squad and other specialized units.

About 5 am, gunmen in the house opened fire and threw explosives. The police returned fire, leading to an hour-long gun battle,. Rahman said. The bomb squad later entered the house to dispose of any explosives.

Rahman did not identify the gunmen. ''We are not sure what group these militants belong to,'' he said.

Shahidul Hoque, Bangladesh's inspector general of police, told reporters that the dead belonged to a banned organization, Jama'atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

The city has been on edge since the beginning of this month, when 22 people were killed in a terrorist attack on a Dhaka restaurant. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

In a series of police sweeps in June, thousands of people were detained in response to the killings of bloggers, academics and others by Islamist militants. The authorities said that 194 of those taken into custody had links to extremist networks and that of them, 151 belonged to Jama'atul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

That crackdown, however, failed to head off the restaurant attack. The authorities then intensified their campaign, which included compiling a list of young men who have disappeared and may have been recruited by militant groups for terrorist operations.


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