Five suspected militants and a young boy were killed on Thursday as Bangladesh police conducted a series of raids on what they said were extremist hideouts following a series of deadly Islamist attacks in the southern port city of Chittagong.
Police stormed a building in the Chittagong overnight, sparking a 15-hour stand-off with militants armed with guns and grenades with around 20 civilians trapped inside.
Four members of the homegrown extremist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) including one woman died in that operation, police said. At least two were killed by a suicide explosion that they set off.
“They came out in the stairs and carried out a big explosion. Parts of their bodies were spread to 25-30 yards (metres),” said Sanwar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner of the police counter-terrorism unit.
Police later found the body of a young boy as they searched the flat, senior officer Rezaur Rahman said.
According to Reuters report, Al Qaeda and Islamic State have made competing claims over a recent spate of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in Bangladesh, a mostly Muslim country of 160 million people.
Authorities have consistently ruled out the presence of such transnational groups, blaming domestic militants instead, though security experts say the scale and sophistication of the cafe attack suggested links to a transnational network.
Police have killed more than 50 suspected militants in shootouts since the cafe attack, including the man they say was its main planner, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.