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2 dead in Dhaka raid on militant hideout

DHAKA: Bangladesh police officials stand alert as bystanders gather at the scene of an operation to storm an alleged militant hideout yesterday, as a team from the counterterrorism unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police cordoned off a two-storey building in the capital. —AFP

NEW DELHI: A woman and a teenager believed to be linked to a banned Islamist militant group blew themselves up during a police raid on a two-storey house in Bangladesh’s capital yesterday, a government minister said. The woman died after detonating explosives attached to her body during the raid, while the teenage boy’s bloodied body was found inside an apartment on the ground floor of the building in Dhaka’s Ashkona area, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said. Both were tied to the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh group, or JMB, he said.

A 7-year-old girl sustained splinter injuries when the woman blew herself up and was being treated at a hospital in Dhaka, Khan said. Two other women and two children surrendered in the operation earlier yesterday, he said. Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, has been experiencing threats recently from radical groups targeting atheists, bloggers, writers, foreigners and minority religious groups.

Masudur Rahman, a spokesman for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told reporters that one of the surrendered women was the wife of a slain JMB military commander who was killed in a police raid in Dhaka in September. He said the women were taken into police custody and would be questioned. The secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has blamed JMB for several recent attacks.

In a major attack on July 1, young militants belonging to the group killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, in a restaurant in Dhaka. Since July, police have conducted several raids like yesterday’s and killed at least 40 suspects amid a massive manhunt for those responsible for the recent attacks. — AP

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