Suspected Islamist militant killed in Bangladesh raid

AP News
Posted: Aug 15, 2017 4:24 AM
Suspected Islamist militant killed in Bangladesh raid

NEW DELHI (AP) — A suspected Islamist militant was killed in an explosion inside a hotel in Bangladesh's capital during a raid Tuesday on an alleged hideout.

Police chief A.K.M. Shahidul Hoque said that the man died in the explosion during the raid that began early Tuesday.

Police identified the man as Saiful Islam, a college student. Details of his allegiance to any Islamist groups were not immediately clear.

Some officials said a portion of the wall of the hotel fell from the force of the blasts.

It was not immediately clear if any other suspects were in the Hotel Olio International in downtown Dhaka.

The police chief said they would examine whether the suspect was a member of Jumatul Mujahedin Bangladesh, or JMB, a banned group responsible for many attacks in recent years.

Bangladesh has been experiencing a rise in Islamic militancy in recent years. Banned Islamist groups have targeted liberals, atheists and foreigners.

Hoque said it appeared the suspect had been planning an attack as the country was mourning the death anniversary of its independence leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was assassinated in a military coup in 1975 along with most of his family. The day is a national holiday in Bangladesh.

Hundreds of people placed wreaths at a portrait of Rahman in front of his home-turned-museum, where the assassination took place. The museum is close to the hotel where Tuesday's raid occurred.

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Last year, in a major attack, suspected JMB members killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, in a restaurant in Dhaka. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack but authorities have rejected the claim and blamed the JMB.

Since the 2016 assault, authorities have reinforced a crackdown on militants and killed more than 50 suspects.

Bangladesh is a Muslim-majority nation that is ruled by largely secular laws based on British common law.