A female member of the notorious militant group New JMB, which is responsible for the Gulshan and Sholakia terror attacks, committed suicide while a teenager was killed during a police raid at a den in Ashkona area of Dakkhinkhan.
Two other female jihadists surrendered to the DMP’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit along with three children during the raid named as Operation Ripple 24.
One of the children, Sabina, 7, sustained critical injuries during the suicide bomb blast. She told reporters at Dhaka Medical College Hospital that she was the daughter of Iqbal and Shakila.
The deceased woman could not be identified immediately, but the police said that she was the wife of militant Sumon. The body was sent to DMC morgue for an autopsy.
Details about Sumon, Iqbal and Shakila could not be found.
On the other hand, police could not confirm how the teenager, Afif Qadri Ador, died yesterday. The body was kept inside the flat. CTTC unit officials said that the body would be recovered today after removing the explosives staked in the flat on the ground floor.
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Afif’s twin brother, Tahrim Qadri alias Rasel, is now in jail. He was rescued after the September 10 raid in an Azimpur den. Their father Tanvir Qadri alias Md Shamsher alias Jamshed alias Abdul Karim killed himself by slitting his throat during the raid while mother Abedatul Fatema alias Khadiza was arrested.
The two female jihadists who surrendered yesterday are New JMB’s wanted leader Jebunnahar Islam, wife of killed militant Maj (retd) Murad alias Zahidul Islam, and Trishna alias Trisha, wife of wanted militant Musa alias Mosiuddin alias Mainuddin.
Jebunnahar’s two-year-old daughter and Trishna’s daughter aged around five came out of the house with their mothers.
They surrendered with a pistol, six rounds of bullets and some explosives, and were taken to the DB office for interrogation.
Even though the police carried out the raid on a tip-off that Musa had been staying in the flat, they did not find him there.
Police said that the names they had got could be organisational identity. Their actual identity would be disclosed after investigation, CTTC officials said.
According to the house owner, the flat was rented on September 1 by one Imtiaz, who identified him as an online businessman. Imtiaz also said that he along with his wife and child would stay there, and that his sister would visit them sometimes.
The owner’s daughter Jonaki Rasel told the Dhaka Tribune that they had not seen anything suspicious in their activities.
After the raid, IGP Shahidul Haque told reporters that it was Musa who had rented the flat.
CTTC chief Monirul Islam called off the operation in the evening. He said that lack of light might hamper the recovery process. “We have sealed off the flat, and will collect evidence and recover the body tomorrow [today],” he said, adding that the building had been evacuated during the raid for safety of the other tenants.
Sanowar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner of the CTTC unit, said that they had been conducting raids in the area continuously to arrest Musa and other leaders of New JMB for nearly a month.
“Yesterday [Friday] we learnt that Musa was using this hideout. But we did not find him there after the raid,” he added.
After visiting the spot, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters that it was a successful raid since the police members had been able to compel the militants to surrender. “Musa was not present here today [yesterday], but we will definitely arrest him,” he said.
“Our police have shown extreme patience. They were trying to arrest the militants without causing any casualties,” the minister added.
According to CTTC sources, Musa is a mid-level leader of New JMB – a local group affiliated with Islamic State – with expertise in IT, and operating arms and bomb making. He is close to Nurul Islam Marjan, a mid-level leader of the outfit who had coordinated the Gulshan cafe attack.
CTTC unit started the raid in the wee hours yesterday and was confirmed about the house around 3am. Sanowar said. “We asked the militants to surrender using a loudspeaker. Then they replied that there were women and children in the flat.”
One of the woman said from the flat that they would not surrender and rather go to heaven embracing death.
Police had earlier brought Jebunnahar’s mother and brother to the scene to convince her to surrender. They also asked Jebunnahar repeatedly to surrender through a loudspeaker.
Finally, Jebunnahar, Trishna and their two children surrendered to the police around 9am, and told them that there were some suicide vests inside the flat.
At 12:20pm, CTTC officials told others to surrender within two minutes or face consequences. At that time, a burqa-clad woman – wearing suicide vest – came out of the house holding a child, but she refused to raise her hands as per directions of the police.
“Hearing the ultimatum, a woman came out with a girl. It seemed like she was going to surrender but it was a trick. She tried to carry out the explosion with a grenade when she was in proximity of the police,” Monirul said.
Three police members sustained minor injuries in the suicide blast. Then the police fired tear gas shells inside the flat. At that time, Afif hurled grenades and fired bullets at the police prompting the force to retaliate.
The CTTC unit officials could not confirm whether Afif died from grenades or bullets. The matter of his death could be confirmed today after the police’s Bomb Disposal Unit visits the flat.
DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah also visited the spot.
With the two killed yesterday, the group which expressed allegiance to IS, lost 44 of its leaders and members since the Gulshan attack. It claimed responsibilities for 26 attacks since September last year that killed 45 persons, mostly foreigners, Hindus and non-Sunni preachers.
Qadri’s son invited friends to militancy
Teenagers living near the house said that they had known Afif as Shaheed, who used to convince them to come to the path of Islam. He suggested that they might need to kill people in their jihad for Islam.
A teenager, who sells vegetables in the area, said that he had known Afif for the last couple of months but got acquainted after December 15. “We used to play badminton on their rooftop. He sometimes told me that killing people was justified for religious purposes,” the vendor told the Dhaka Tribune.
“Shaheed also said ‘If you do not kill, you will be killed.’ He showed me his arms, and wanted to encourage me to make bombs and operate firearms.”
The vendor also saw another child, Obaidullah, 10, in the flat. Obaidullah was not found after the raid.
“Two people used to visit the flat on a regular basis. They asked Shaheed not to bring anyone inside the flat. But Shaheed used to take me to their flat identifying me as his friend,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.