Fast, creative tactics led to the successful rescue of 78 people, completely unharmed, by a para-commando team.
The 78 people were trapped inside Atia Mahal, a building captured by militants in Pathanpara area of Shibbari in Sylhet.
The rescuers, the angels clad in tactical gear and armed with assault weapons, did not descend from heaven by rappelling. But heaven did aid them, in the form of hard rain and gusts that masked the sound of their movement.
Within half an hour of the operation commencing on Saturday morning, members of the Para-Commando Battalion 1 began pulling out residents from the building.
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Para-commandos evacuate civilians from the top floor of the militant-occupied building in Shibbari, Sylhet on March 25, 2017 Courtesy
From 9:30am to 1pm, 78 people were recovered. Of the rescued, 30 were men, 27 women and 2 children. A pregnant woman was taken away by an ambulance.
On Sunday evening, Brig Gen Fakhrul Ahsan said at a press briefing that the operation's prime objective was to extract the citizens without harm.
At first, ladders were placed across from the adjacent building's roof to Atia Mahal's roof. Commandos evacuated one floor after another until they reached the second floor stairwell where they found improvised explosive devices placed on the stairs, he said.
"The militants did not anticipate this," he added.
The ground floor was then approached from the outside. Window grills were cut and people were pulled out.
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Para-commandos storm Atia Mahal in Shibbari, Sylhet on March 25, 2017 Courtesy
After the rescue on Saturday evening, the residents who were kept at a nearby building, spoke to the press.
"I was holed up in my bathroom with my little boy," a rescued woman said. She thanked the army for their swift and efficient rescue.
A rescued man said: "There was no water or electricity since Friday night. My parents, my wife and I with our children were huddled up in one room the entire time.
"Every minute felt like our last. If the army had not arrived, I do not know what would have happened," he added.