Dhaka: Three top JMB militants are among the six nabbed during a raid on a Dhaka hideout of the radical group on Thursday, police said. But they have not disclosed their identity so far.
The six militants of Jamaat’ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) fired on security forces and lobbed locally made grenades from an apartment on a six-storey building in Shah Ali area.
But the law enforcers stormed the building after engaging the militants for a few hours. Police said ‘huge amount of explosives’ and a ‘suicide vest’ were found in the apartment. Additional Police Commissioner Jahangir Alam told that the raid was carried out on information provided by a JMB activist arrested with explosives on Wednesday.
Besides regular police units, RAB and SWAT squads took part in the raid, which started early on Thursday. Locals said they heard at least 16 explosions and saw smokes billowing out from the apartment between 10am and 11am on Thursday.
“An encounter ensued as militants opened fire and lobbed hand-made grenades,” Joint Police Commissioner Monirul Islam told the media on the spot. He said police evacuated residents of other apartments in the building during the raid.
Six people, aged between 20 and 35 years, were arrested in the two apartments on the fifth floor, said Islam. “At least three of them are key JMB leaders. Identities of the rest are being verified.”
All of those detained, including the one arrested on Wednesday, have been taken to the Detective Branch headquarters for questioning. The explosives, including grenades, seized on Thursday are similar to those that were used in the Old Dhaka bombings in October, said Islam.
The grenades were found with two persons in one of the two apartments on the building’s fifth floor, said Bomb Disposal Unit chief Sanowar Hossain. “The explosive devices were found in the kitchen, bedroom and other rooms of the apartment.”
Four others were held from the other apartment on the same floor, he said adding that their identities were being verified. Police defused the seized grenades at an empty plot near the building raided on Thursday.
Quoting the building’s owner, Hossain said the apartment was rented six months ago by these youngmen who claimed to be college students.
“We suspect they used this place to make grenades,” he said.