Police have recovered three suicide vests and a number of maps from a militant hideout in Jessore, after a female militant who had been holed up in the building overnight surrendered on Monday.
Police sources said the four-storey building, located near Jame Mosque on Ghop Noapara Road, was cordoned off around 10pm on Sunday. Five families were rescued from the building around noon on Monday and Khadiza, the female militant, surrendered along with her son and two daughters at 3:05pm.
Khulna Range Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Didar Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune that Khadiza is the wife of New JMB leader Hadisur Rahman Sagor, one of the planners behind the terror attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1 last year.
The building that contained the militant hideout is owned by Ismat Ara and her two sisters. Ismat’s husband Haider Ali said the militant den, in the western part of the building, had been rented by a man named Moshiur Rahman from Kushtia for a year.
Moshiur lived in the building with his wife and three children, but would often leave for a few days before returning, Haider added.
Khulna Range Additional DIG Ekramul Habib announced that the primary operation was over on Monday at a press briefing around 5:30pm.
Maps recovered from the hideout were likely being used to plan a future attack, he said.
The additional DIG further said that Moshiur may be an alias used by New JMB leader Sagor. He added that Sagor’s whereabouts are unknown and he is still at large.
Earlier on Monday, a team from Detective Branch of Police arrived at the hideout at 9:45am and a SWAT team from the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) arrived at 10:30am. Subsequently, law enforcement officials began urging Khadiza to surrender and switch on her phone via megaphone, with the aid of Haider Ali.
Haider told the Dhaka Tribune that Khadiza finally came to a veranda of the building to speak to him and police around 2:30pm. However, she said she would not surrender unless her father was brought to the location.
Kotwali police station Office-in-Charge Azmal Huda confirmed that she finally surrendered at 3:05pm, after her parents were brought in.
After Khadiza’s surrender, a bomb disposal team entered the building and three large explosions were heard between 4:30pm and 5pm, as the suicide vests were defused.