Counter-terrorism officials termed it a big success in combating extremism since the deadly group’s Holey Artisan Bakery attack on July 1 when 24 people, mostly foreigners, were shot and hacked. But as of now, two of the eight have fled to India dodging the police.
There were 11 trained militants staying in the fifth-floor flat of Jahazbari at Kallyanpur when police’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit and Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) teams carried out “Operation Storm 26” to end a 12-hour stand-off.
One of the two others, identified as Iqbal, managed to flee the scene but the other, Raqibul Hasan Rigan, was arrested and later treated at a hospital as he sustained injuries. Rigan also gave confessional statement in a court.
Based on his information, the law enforcers learnt that at least nine mid-level leaders of the outfit used to visit the flat to provide them with logistics. One of them was New JMB’s military and operations commander Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, who was later killed along with two other associates in Narayanganj on August 27.
Eight of the nine militants killed on July 26 were identified as Md Abdullah of Dinajpur; Abu Hakim Nayeem of Patuakhali; Taj-ul-Haque Rashiq of Dhanmondi, Dhaka; Akifuzzaman Khan of Gulshan; Sehzad Rauf Arko of Bashundhara Residential Area; Motiur Rahman of Satkhira; Jubayer Hossain of Noakhali; and Rayhan Kabir of Rangpur.
In the FIR filed over the Kallyanpur incident, police named eight other militants of New JMB – Iqbal, Ripon, Khalid, Mamun, Manik, Junayed Hasan Khan, Badal and Azadul Kabiraj.
When contacted, CTTC chief Monirul Islam admitted that Khalid and Ripon had already crossed the border, and that they were conducting drives to arrest the others.
The Operation Storm 26 was launched based on information that some militants were staying in a flat of Jahazbari on Road 5 of Kallyanpur on July 25. Mirpur police and local people accompanied the special forces during the drive.
The militants used bullets and grenades when the police knocked the door, prompting them to back off. The operation was carried out around 6am for one hour. According to Rigan, six of the dead militants were suicide squad members.
In the flat, the law enforcers also recovered some documents about the New JMB and a flag of the IS group. Before the operation, the militants took photos wearing IS-style dresses and holding guns and knives.
Monirul said that the families of the dead militants had not contacted them for the bodies. So the police handed those over to Anjuman Mufidul Islam for burial. He added that the families could take the bodies upon permission of the court.
Meanwhile, the Jahazbari building has been left vacant since the raid. Five police constables are guarding the main gate of the six-storey house. They said that police highups asked them to prevent anyone from entering the building.
Mahbub Hossain Bhuiyan, OC of Mirpur police, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that they had cordoned off the building to protect the crime scene. “We will open the building once the CTTC unit gives the green signal,” he added.