Dhaka – Three suspected Islamist militants were killed in the latest raids conducted by the security forces in the north-eastern Bangladeshi district of Moulvibazar, police said.
The death toll in a series of anti-militant raids and counterattack by the militants rose to 21 since the security forces launched the offensive on March 23, according to official tally.
As the Operation Maximus resumed on Saturday morning, the lawmen could go through the duplex building where the suspects holed up for days at BOrohat of Moulvibazar.
“They found three bodies inside the building and piles of explosives,” Monirul Islam, chief of Bangladesh counterterrorism unit of police, said at the end of the operation, which was suspended on Friday evening.
Two of them are men while the other is a woman, he said adding that the suspects belonged to a faction of banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). They tried to build resistance throwing bombs and grenades on the lawmen during the operation that began on Thursday.
The scene is approximately 155 kilometers away from the capital Dhaka.
One of the slain militants is believed to have carried out a counterattack on March 25, when army commandos were conducting raids in a hideout of Sylhet city, leaving seven people, including three officers, killed, said Islam.
“We wanted to capture the militants alive to face trial, but they put up resistant and eventually got killed,” he said.
The bomb disposal unit of police has launched sweeping operation to defuse explosive that the militants amassed.
Seven suspected members of the JMB were killed after they detonated suicide vests during a raid on another hideout at Nasirpur, 20 kilometers away from Moulvibazar town, on March 30.
The JMB group has been blamed for a series of terrorist attacks in recent years, including last year’s cafe attack in Dhaka that killed 20 civilians, mostly foreigners.
The group was banned after synchronized bomb attacks hit 63 locations in Bangladesh in August 2005.
Army commandos killed four suspected militants holed up in a five-storey building in the north-eastern city of Sylhet in a four-day long operation that was ended on March 27.
On March 25, six people, including two policemen, were killed and nearly 50 others injured in explosions around 500 metres away from the suspected hideout. An army officer who wounded in the attack died in hospital on Friday.
The Islamic State terrorist militia claimed responsibility for the bombs, the US-based monitoring group SITE Intelligence said Sunday. Bangladesh insists that the attacks were carried out by the home-grown militants.