POST TIME: 26 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
Neo-JMB made suicide attack plan from Ashkona den
More arms, ammo seized

Neo-JMB made suicide attack plan from Ashkona den

Law enforcers maintain security cordon around the militant den at Ashkona in Dakkhikhan area of the capital yesterday. Independent Photo

Police yesterday recovered 17 grenades, two live suicide vests, two pistols and the dead body of teenager lying next to unexploded suicide vests from the den of the New JMB at Ashkona, police sources said. Senior police officials suspect that the dead and detained militants had planned a suicide attack.
A team of the police bomb disposal squad recovered the explosives and the arms and the body from different rooms of Surya Villa after conducting a daylong operation that ended at 6:30pm, said deputy commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman. With this, he said, police have recovered 19 grenades and three pistols from the militants’ hideout over the last two days. Two grenades and one pistol were recovered during the raid on the militant den on Saturday. He said police also recovered bundles of money that was burnt by the militants during the operation. He said they came to know from the survivors that there was a sum of about Tk. 12 lakh with them.
Rahman said all the bombs recovered from the Ashkona militant den have been neutralised.
The police recovered the explosives and arms after conducting thorough searches of the rooms for hours. The operation began at 10:30am as a team of the police bomb disposal squad went to the militant hideout and found grenades and the body of the teenager lying on the ground floor of the villa.
The militant boy, Afif Quadri, was killed during the police operations on Saturday night to flush out the militants from the den. The law enforcers busted the den of the New JMB, in which a woman blew herself up with a vest of explosives for the first time in Bangladesh and a couple of others surrendered.
The two women militants who surrendered along with two children when the police stormed the hideout are in the custody of the police under the counter-terrorism unit.
Meanwhile, Monirul Islam, chief of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, told reporters that the law enforcement officials completed the disposal of 19 bombs and two suicide vests this evening after the daylong raid on the den. He said the large quantity of explosives and arms indicated that the militants were planning to launch a new raid in the city. “We think the woman (who exploded the suicide vest) was planning a suicide hit soon,” he added.
Deputy commissioner of police (counter-terrorism unit) Muhibul Islam Khan told reporters that the two female militants who surrendered with two babies to the police are in police custody. Khan said they might be produced in court today after a case is filed in this connection.
Earlier, the CTTC unit’s deputy commissioner, Proloy Kumar Joardar, said a team of the police bomb disposal unit went to the militant hideout and resumed operations at 10:30am after police found the grenades and the vests on the ground floor of a room.
He told reporters at the scene that the law enforcement agencies could not recover Afif’s body on Saturday night as gas was coming out of the room.
The autopsy of the female militant Shakira, 35, who blew herself up, has been completed, said Shohel Mahmud, assistant professor of the forensic medicine department at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
He said splinters, bearing balls and other metallic objects were found inside her body during the autopsy. Samples from the body’s thigh muscle and hair were taken for DNA tests.
Shakira died in a blast during the police operation at the militant hideout in Ashkona near Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The baby girl, Sabina, survived with serious injuries.
Meanwhile, minister for home affairs Asaduzzaman Khan said sacked army Major Syed Ziaul Haque and Nurul Islam Marzan would be arrested anytime.
“They (Maj. Zia and Marzan) will be arrested anytime as they are under surveillance,” he said while talking to reporters after attending a function at Shishu Academy in Dhaka city.
The sacked Maj. Zia and Marzan had allegedly played vital roles in the Gulshan café attack and targeted killings.
Police said Zia is the chief of the wing of the banned militant outfit, Ansar al Islam, and he had had a hand in the targeted killings and blogger killings. Marzan, on the other hand, was the operational commander of the militant attack at Holey Artisan Bakery café on July 1.
The two women were the wife of Maj. (retd) Jahid, allegedly the trainer of Gulshan and Sholakia attackers, and the wife of ‘neo-JMB’ leader Maynul Musa.
The owner of the three-storey building, Jamal Hossain, is a Bangladeshi living in Kuwait.
In another development, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia told journalists that police are conducting drives to arrest ‘neo-JMB’ leader Maynul Musa who, according to police sources, escaped Saturday’s raid in Ashkona.
“Musa is a listed criminal. Drives are being carried out to arrest him,” he said.
Replying to a question, the DMP chief said Saturday’s drive was a continuation of measures against militant activities following the attack on the Holey Artisan Bakery.
Referring to the suicide of the female militant, he claimed that it was “not a new phenomenon” in the country, adding that in the field of militancy, men and women can be motivated as they are members of militant families.
The DMP commissioner said militants collect arms and explosives from local sources and sometimes from abroad, and the cops are investigating this matter.
“We have already been able to contain extremism in the country by carrying out some successful drives. The donors, patrons and supporters (of militancy) have been brought under strict surveillance,” he said. “In a primary investigation, we have learnt that the extremists carried out their activities from the Ashkona den following the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery.”
Earlier, on Saturday, two suspected militants, including a woman, were killed and a minor girl was injured during a police raid on a militant den at a house in Ashkona in the capital’s Dakshin Khan area.
Monirul said the police recovered a pistol from the hand of the slain boy, which he had been gripping. The police also recovered a total of 19 grenades, explosive-making materials, a container and splinters from the house.
He confirmed that the body was of Afif Quadri, one of the teenage sons of the militant Tanveer Quadri who was killed during an anti-militancy operation in Azimpur. He also disclosed that the name of the first husband of the woman who blew herself up during Saturday’s operation was Iqbal. He recently died of cancer. She later married a militant named Sumon, who has been missing for more than a month. The child who was injured in the blast when the woman triggered the suicide vest was the daughter of her first husband Iqbal, he said.
He said the chief of the new JMB, Moinul Islam Musa, rented the house in the name of Imtiaz. The police will investigate whether Musa was involved in the Gulshan attack.