July 26 (NIA) – Nine suspected militants were killed in a gun battle between the Bangladesh police and a militant group in the Kalyanpur area in capital Dhaka on Tuesday, the police said.
The militants were killed after the police raided a five-storey building in the area on Tuesday morning. The police were initially attacked by handmade bombs followed by a gun battle between the two groups. One suspect was taken into custody.
Although it was immediately unclear as to which group the militants belonged to, Bangladesh’s police Chief A.K.M Shahidul Hoque told journalists that the militants’ clothing and other evidence indicated that they belonged to the locally banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB).
The JMB has been blamed for the deadly July 1 hostage attack, in a café in a diplomatic zone in Dhaka, which killed 20 foreigners, mostly Italians and Japanese.
Since the hostage attack, police have been conducting planned “block raids” in suspected militant hideouts. It was during one of these regular searches that the police came under attack on Tuesday, according to Deputy Police Commissioner Masud Ahmed, and retaliated with gun fire.
While the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the Dhaka hostage attack, Bangladeshi authorities have rejected the claims, saying there were no signs of the groups’ existence in the country.
Instead, the government has blamed the JMB for the attack.
According to reports, several militants have been arrested in the recent days, in an attempt to hunt those involved in the July 1 attack.