The army operation codenamed ‘Operation Twilight’ in Atia Maha

Police handed over control of Atia Mahal in Sylhet

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Morningbellbd Desk, 29 March 2017: The army operation codenamed ‘Operation Twilight’ in Atia Mahal, a militant hideout in Shibbari area of Sylhet ended yesterday and police were handed over the control of the house. The formal end to the 4-day military operation was announced by Military Intelligence Director Brig Gen Fakhrul Ahsan during a press briefing at Sylhet Jalalabad Cantonment yesterday evening. The ‘Operation Twilight’ conducted by army para commandos saw the successful rescue of 78 people unharmed from the building and the death of 4 militants. “We ended the operation and handed over the building, Atia Mahal, to police in the afternoon as it is a crime scene,” the Military Intelligence Director told reporters.
Rokonuddin, Additional Commissioner of Sylhet Police, said the custody of the building was handed over to police at 5:15pm yesterday and bodies of two militants were still inside Atia Mahal.
Earlier on Monday, Army para commandos found the bodies of four militants, including that of a female one, at militant den Atia Mahal. Brig Gen Fakhrul Ahsan, spokesperson of the operation, told this at a press conference near Aita Mahal at 7:30pm. Two of the bodies were handed over to police.
“We’d information that four militants, including three men and a woman, were there in the house and we’ve found all the four bodies. We think there is no militant alive inside the building,” he had told reporters.
“Our operation is still on and it may take further time to conclude it,” he told reporters on Monday adding, “We aren’t concluding the operation right now as there’s a process to do that. The search is still on. CID’s Crime Scene unit will arrive at the spot after the search.” Asked whether the militants committed suicide or got killed in firing by the Para Commandos, Fakhrul said they were killed in army members’ firing as their suicidal vests are still with their bodies.
He said the militants had small arms, explosives and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). They were wearing suicide vests, and had booby-trapped the buildings using bombs.
He also said the Army commandos conducted the drive successfully and no Army member was injured in the incident. “The situation was always under the commandos’ control. We can say this operation is a great success for the Army,”  he said. Earlier, sounds of explosions and sporadic gunshots rocked Shibbari area of Dakkhin Surma upazila on Monday. Locals said firing started in the early morning and continued till afternoon at regular intervals. A big explosion was heard from the five-storey Atia Mahal around 3:15pm. The Army-led operation, ‘Operation Twilight’, began on Saturday morning with the 1st Para-Commando Battalion led by Lt Col Imrul Hasan taking over the anti-militancy operation. Earlier, police launched the raid on the militant den early Friday. The army cut off gas and electricity connections in Shibbari and managed to rescue 78 civilians unharmed from the building amid heavy gunfire. Two consecutive explosions took place within a one-kilometre radius of the buildings on Saturday evening killing two police officials and four others. The commandos went inside the building on Monday morning after creating holes on the walls on two sides of the building while gunfire and explosions were being heard.