A new Islamic State publication has featured an article on the July 1 Gulshan cafe attack and the five terrorists ostensibly written by Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, who was killed during a police operation in Narayanganj more than a month ago.
Interestingly, the byline of the article, published in IS' Rumiyah magazine, says: “Abu Dujanah al-Bengali (Tamim Chowdhury), Former Head of Military and Covert Operations of the Soldiers of Khilafah in Bengal.”
Police on several occasions referred to New JMB chief Tamim as IS' Bangladesh head Sheikh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, before and after he was gunned down during the so-called "Operation Hit Strong 27" on August 27. Two other members of his gang were killed in the drive.
The second issue of the multilingual magazine released late Tuesday night also published an infographic stating 24 out of the 26 attacks the IS supporters have carried out in Bangladesh since September last year. The victims include foreigners, non-Muslim and non-Sunni preachers, law enforcers and a university professor.
Abu Ibrahim's interview was published in IS' Dabiq magazine in April. The Salafist group aims at establishing Shariah law in the country and use Bangladesh as its base to launch attacks in Myanmar and India to avenge the "persecution on Muslims."
“Having a strong jihad base in Bengal will facilitate guerilla attacks inside India simultaneously from both sides [east and west],” he said in the interview. Islamic State has strong base in Pakistan and Afghanistan region – they call it Khorasan province.
Tamim is believed to be the mastermind of the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in Gulshan on July 1 and the attack on police near Sholakia Eid congregation on July 8. At least 25 people, including foreigners, law enforcement personnel and civilians, were killed in the terrorist attacks.
He used to visit the group's Kallyanpur den where nine members were killed in "Operation Storm 26" by SWAT on July 26. A trainer-level member of the gang was held by police but the another managed to flee.
Dhaka Attack mastermind Tamim killed
On September 23, IS released its second Bangla video featuring as heroes the five Gulshan attackers who were killed in "Operation Thunderbolt" on July 2.
The militants in the video, believed to be recorded sometime before the Gulshan attack, made statements justifying the brutality targeting the foreigners, and criticising the democratic system and political leaders. They also came down heavily on the Islamic scholars for resisting Muslims from joining the armed jihad of the Islamic State.
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The home minister reacted: “I have said it before there is no organisational existence and leader of IS in Bangladesh. The video footage has been released as part of a conspiracy against Bangladesh.”
[caption id="attachment_20073" align="alignleft" width="214"] Threat to Crusader nations in Tamim's article in Rumiyah
Rumiyah has also published the profiles of leader of the team, Rohan Imtiaz alias Abu Rahiq al-Bengali, and Nibras Islam alias Abu Muharib al-Bengali, Meer Saameh Mubasser alias Abu Salamah al-Bengali, Md Khairuzzaman alias Khairul Islam Payel alias Abu Umayr al-Bengali and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal alias Abu Muslim al-Bengali.
“The Gulshan attack wasn’t the first attack against the Crusaders by the Soldiers of the Khilafah in Bengal and it certainly will not be the last,” the article reads.
The new faction of outlawed militant group Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which, according to the police, works as the Islamic State affiliate in Bangladesh, has lost 31 of its members in raids while two killed themselves since November last year.
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Detectives claim that local militants close to banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh formed the New JMB group to create anarchy and terrorise foreigners in the country.
After Tamim's death, counter-terrorism officials claimed that the strength of New JMB had almost waned. The detectives are now looking for the field-level coordinator, financiers and arms suppliers for the July 1 attack.
They said that Tamim had been assisted by a top JMB leader, Abul Kashem alias Boro Huzur. Known as a great religious preacher working at the Okharabari Madrasa of Dinajpur, Kashem mainly helped Tamim to reunite the JMB members.
Sources say the New JMB top brass identified so far are Mahfuz Sohel alias Hatkata Sohel alias Nasir Uddin alias Bhagina Sohel, field-level coordinator Nurul Islam Marjan, Abu Yousuf Bangali, Rajib Gandhi alias Shuvash alias Jahangir, Mamunur Rashid Ripon, Shariful Islam Khalid, IT wing leader Basharullah alias Basharuzzaman alias Rahul, Washim Azwad, Manik, coordinator Iqbal (escaped from Kallyanpur den), Junayed Hasan Khan, Badal, Sagor, Akash and Azadul.
IS video threatens more attacks in Bangladesh
Only six days after the Gulshan attack, IS released the first Bangla video featuring three Bangladeshi fighters promising more operations in the country. The trio –
Tahmid Rahman Shafi, Md Tawsif Hossain and Dr Arafat Hossain Tushar – are believed to be fighting for the IS group in Syria.
On July 7, the Eid day, militants attacked police outside the Sholakia Eid congregation and killed two policemen. A woman was killed during a gunfight between the police and the attackers. One of the militants was killed at that time.