4 militants die in ‘suicide explosions after police attack in Sitakunda hideout

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Chittagong, March 16: Four militants were reportedly killed when they started ‘suicide explosions’ after police and specialized force SWAT jointly launched a drive at their hideout in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong on Thursday morning.

Three people including two policemen were injured during the operation.

Besides, 20 people belonging to four families were rescued from the house unharmed.

Police said the militants who died belonged to the JMB.

The identities of the deceased could not be known immediately.

A special team of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and district police of Chittagong launched the special operation codenamed ‘Assault 16’ around 6am, said police.

After the operation, four bodies were recovered from the militant den, said Deputy Inspector General (Chittagong range) Shafiqul Islam.

Of them, two were killed in gunfight with the law enforcers while the rest in suicide bomb blast, he said.

Two members of the Special Weapon and Tactics Team (SWAT) were also injured during the gunfight. They were taken to Combined Military Hospital, Chittagong.

The special team also rescued 20 people of several families,who got trapped in the house, during the drive.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque said the law enforcers came to know about more militant dens in Sitakunda from Hasan and Jasim – two militants arrested in Chandina upazila of Comilla.

Following their information, a team of Sitakunda police raided a house at Madhyam Mahadebpur village in Sitakunda on Wednesday afternoon, said Mahabubur Rahman, assistant superintendent of police (Mirsarai circle).

Nure Alam Mina, police super of Chittagong district, confirmed the matter to media around 8:15am.

The explosions were reported after police mounted the assault on the hideout  after throwing an encirclement around the hideout last night.

Police started firing at the hideout around 6am and the inmates of the hideout replied with powerful explosions in quick succession.

Personnel from Counter-terrorism unit and SWAT have joined the RAB and the Chittagong police in the operations against “Chaya Nir” , a two-storey building in Chowdhurypara of Siktakunda town’s Premtala area.

Counter-terrorism unit’s additional joint commissioner Sanowar Hossain is leading the operations. He has been involved with many such raids on militant hideouts in and around Dhaka in the past.

Hossain said personnel from Counter-terrorism unit and Swat , police’s bomb disposal squad ,”LIC” unit of police headquarters and men from Chittagong police were involved in the operations.

Police encircled ‘Chaya Nir” after arresting a couple with arms and explosives from a ‘ JMB hideout’ in Sitakunda town on Wednesday evening.

When inmates of ‘Chaya Nir” lobbed grenades injuring a policeman, the law enforcers encircled the house to ensure no one could escape from there.

Intermittent exchange of fire between the police-RAB contigent and the inmates of the house were reported on several occassions throughout the night.

Police said some families were stuck in ‘Chaya Nir” along with the terrorists but they were still not clear about numbers.

Earlier, a couple was arrested from a suspected militant hideout at Chittagong’s Sitakunda after which police and SWAT personnel cordoned off ‘Chaya Nir” .

Local police raided the ground floor of a two-storey house, ‘Sadhan Kutir’, at Amirabad of Namar Bazar Ward around 3pm on Wednesday after receiving a tip-off from the building’s owner.

A couple, ‘Jashim’ and ‘Arjina’, were arrested from there with weapons, police said.