5 militants, firefighter killed in Bangladesh police raid

AP News
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Posted: May 11, 2017 8:16 AM

NEW DELHI (AP) — Five militants and a firefighter were killed in a police raid Thursday on a house during a crackdown on radical groups in Bangladesh's northwestern region, police said.

The firefighter, who was spraying water to defuse any explosives in the house, was stabbed to death by at least two militants outside the house in a village in Rajshahi district, police official Hifjul Alam Munshi said. Several other security officials were hurt in the raid, he said.

He said police opened fire after people started shooting from inside the house, which had been cordoned off overnight. One of the suspects was wearing a vest and all five may have died in a suicide blast, he said.

A video broadcast by local television stations shows suspects attacking the firefighter with sharp weapons in a field just beside the house. Sounds of gunfire from the automatic weapons of security officials are heard as the attackers stab the man. It was not immediately clear who shot the video.

Two children and their mother came out of the house and surrendered.

Police said Thursday's operation was conducted on intelligence information.

The dead included a man whose son-in-law was arrested earlier for alleged involvement with the militant group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, police said. The group, blamed for a series of attacks in recent years, is banned in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

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Bangladesh has been battling militants who have been stepping up attacks on atheist bloggers, writers and publishers, foreigners and members of minority groups.

Last July, 20 hostages including 17 foreigners were killed by five suspected Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh militants in a restaurant in the capital, Dhaka. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility, but the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denied that IS has any presence in the country.

Since then, about 60 suspected militants have been killed in police raids.