Grenade attack as Bangladesh police raid Islamist hideout

The police in Bangladesh on Thursday said that eight militants blew themselves up with a grenade north of the capital rather than surrender.

Bangladesh prides itself on being a mainly moderate Muslim country.

Police urged the militants, holed up in their hideout in Nasirpur, northeast of the capital Dhaka, to give them up on Wednesday, but instead they detonated the grenade. Both the houses are owned by a Bangladeshi man living in England, police said.

He added there could also be children among the dead.

Counter-terrorism officers and the elite SWAT unit then stormed one of the hideouts and found body parts scattered across two rooms.

Kamrul Ahsan, a senior police official, told journalists at Moulvibazar that they are still not sure how much explosives are in the hideouts.

The suspects had been holed up for a couple of days in an one-storey building and the security forces, acting on information, cordoned it off only hours after the army commandos ended a four-day operation in Sylhet city to kill four other suspected Islamists on Tuesday.

At least four extremists died and another six people including two police officers were killed when two bombs went off on Saturday near a crowd watching the operation.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility "for a bombing on Bangladeshi forces in Sylhet", the SITE monitoring service said, citing a report on the group's website Amaq, which appeared to refer to that incident.

Meanwhile, law enforcers are also keeping a close watch on a building in the eastern town of Comilla, where a similar raid to flush out militants is imminently expected.

The country launched a massive crackdown on militants specially after the Dhaka cafe attack.

IS has claimed to be behind at least two other incidents this month, including one at a checkpoint near Bangladesh's global airport and one involving a man who tried to cross a checkpoint run by an elite police unit.

These include the founders of a new faction of the banned JMB, which has been blamed by the authorities for most attacks.

  • Leroy Wright