Dhaka: Four terrorists, including one woman, have been killed by Bangladesh security forces at Sylhet, around 250 km from Dhaka, ending the longest-ever confrontation in the neighbouring country in a long time.
The chief of military intelligence, Brigadier-General Fakhrul Ahsan, told the media that the army has handed over the body of the female terrorist and another one to the police. Two bodies are awaited. The men were in suicide vests and died surrounded by explosives and a bomb squad will have to sanitise the area before the bodies can be recovered.
The five storey building, Atia Mahal, where the terrorists were holed up, has IEDs and other powerful explosives all over, forcing security forces to operate with utmost caution.
The dead terrorists are yet to be identified. Sources said they belong to the Neo Jamaat ul Mujahideen Bangladesh or Neo JMB. The head of the group, Musa, was reported to be in Sylhet. The woman killed may be his newly wedded wife. Her brother, also a terrorist, was reportedly killed 10 days ago.
The stand-off began early on Friday morning after police surrounded the building in Sylhet's crowded South Surma area following a tip-off that it was a terror den. In a dramatic operation, carried out from the top of the building, 78 civilians were rescued. Houses in the neighbourhood were evacuated. The media was kept some distance away.
On Saturday, around 6.30 pm, as the crowds stood from behind the barricades, watching the operations, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside, leaving at least six people - three civilians, 2 policemen and one person, believed to be the suicide bomber.
The ISIS news agency, Amaq, claimed responsibility for the suicide operation. But Bangaldesh home minister Asaduzzaman Khan has dismissed any such link. Bangladesh claims there are no ISIS operatives in the country and all incidents were the handiwork of home-grown terror groups.