DhakaTribune
Monday November 20, 2017 11:19 PM

As it happened: Explosion, gunfire rock Panthapath hotel as militant blows himself up

  • The explosion inside the room rocked the entire building and the building next to it | Tilka Binte Mehtab/Dhaka Tribune

  • Smoke and debris in the air after initial explosions and gunfire | Tilka Binte Mehtab/Dhaka Tribune

  • Police cordon off the area for security | Adnan Akib/Dhaka Tribune

  • Police evacuating civilians from Panthapath before they raid a hotel in the area hunting a militant | Adnan Akib/Dhaka Tribune

  • Members of the SWAT team patrol the street during the raid | Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

  • IGP Shahidul Haque observing the blast site from a fire service crane | Tilka Binte Mehtab/Dhaka Tribune

  • Fire service crew on a crane approach the blast site for inspection | Tilka Binte Mehtab/Dhaka Tribune

  • Close-up of the room where the explosion took place. Photo taken from the Dhaka Tribune office on August 15, 2017 | Tilka Binte Mehtab/Dhaka Tribune

A 21-year-old militant died, possibly by his own bombs, which he was planning on using on processions to/from Bangabandhu Memorial Museum

3:00pm- Saiful used the nom de guerre “Khairul” when registering at the hotel on August 13, but signed with his original name, says OC Atikur Rahman.

2:20pm- New Market police station Officer-in-Charge Atikur Rahman tells the Dhaka Tribune: “We first conducted a block raid in the area. We entered Olio International around 2:45am.

“The hotel manager informed us that 13 of the rooms were occupied.”

He continues: “When knocking on room 301, a voice from inside said it was too late at night, and that they would talk in the morning.”

After switching a light on from the outside, police could see someone with a black trolley bag coming towards the door.

Immediately they dive on the floor and call for backup to conduct the raid.

IGP Shahidul Hoque says: “Saiful was a member of Chhatra Shibir before joining New JMB”

12:20pm- CTTC says the militant had planned to attack processions to Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on the National Mourning Day. The police have also found leaflets containing militancy propaganda among the deceased’s belongings.

12:00pm- CTTC has confirmed that Monirul Islam, head of the unit, will brief the media at 12:15pm at Dhanmondi Road 32 about the raid.

11:50am- Three more explosions go off as the BDU neutralises them. Our staffs inside the office are ducking and taking cover. Our staffs on the ground have confirmed more may follow.

11:30am- Law enforcement agencies are saying there could be more militants inside or around the hotel. The Bomb Disposal Unit has found several bags filled with explosives.

11:15am- A security guard at the Al-Arafah Bank branch near the hotel has been found bleeding after the initial skirmish. He is being taken to Square Hospital for emergency treatment. One of our reporters overhears on the police scanner that he has been hit in the head. It has not been ascertained whether he has been shot or was struck by debris.

11:05am- CTTC has called off the raid after finding no other explosives. But they are still restricting entry, even to journalists at the Dhaka Tribune office. The raid titled “Operation August Bite” seems far from over as law enforcement agencies are still on site en force. Emergency services are beginning to clean up the area.

10:40am- A CTTC official says the explosion was from a bomb inside a trolley. The CTTC source identifies the attacker as Saiful Islam, a 21-year-old from Dumuria in Khulna. He was a student at BL College in Khulna and had set out for an attack on Dhanmondi Road 32 at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum on Tuesday.

10:20am- The building next door has started to show cracks after the explosions. Law enforcement agencies are saying nobody else is inside. Inspector General (IGP) Shahidul Hoque has arrived and is briefing the media.

10:10am- Wazidur Rahman with the Special Security and Protection Battalion has confirmed that a militant was inside a hotel room and has been killed. From the roof of the Dhaka Tribune office, the militant looks to be in his early 20s, in a black shirt and blue jeans.

9:44am- Two explosions are heard inside the building followed by a staccato of gunfire. A room on the second floor has exploded and debris have strewn across the street.

9:35am- A SWAT team has entered the building just now, confirmed by the Dhaka Tribune staffs who are stranded on the street, unable to enter the office premises.

9:24am- DMP Additional Deputy Commissioner (CTTC) Abdul Mannan says police have had the area surrounded since 3am on Tuesday. He says no shots have been fired. He also tells the Dhaka Tribune that the police are trying to resolve the situation by compelling the militants to surrender.

9:05am- Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has confirmed that one or several militants are hiding in the building.

8:50am- No senior police personnel has commented on the matter as of yet. The hotel has been identified as Hotel Olio International, located between Square Hospital and the Russel Square intersection. It is directly across the street from the Dhaka Tribune office.

8:30am- A stretch of Panthapath from Square Hospital to the Russel Square intersection has been sealed off by law enforcement agencies. Police, including the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, Detective Branch and regular members in riot gear, are present in numbers along with Rapid Action Battalion and fire service.

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