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Blasts, gunshots near ‘Sylhet militant den’ continues

The Daily Dawn

 Sound of big explosions and sporadic gunshots was heard from militant den Atia Mahal at Shibbari in Dakkhin Surma upazila  from Sunday morning to afternoon amid  joint forces’ operation that began on Saturday afternoon.

The army Para Commandos -led operation to the militant hideout that began around 2pm on Saturday was continuing till filing of this report at 3:45  pm on Sunday.

Besides, the administration imposed section 144 in the areas adjacent to Shibbari area and law enforcers have tightened security in the city.

Meanwhile, army personnel rescued Josna Rani, an elderly woman, from a flat on the 3rd floor of Atia Mahal around 11am. Later, she was admitted to a hospital as she was ill.

Earlier, a police officer and a leader of Bangladesh Chhatra league (BCL), who were injured in bomb blasts in front of Gotatikor Madrasah adjacent to militant den Atia Mahal, succumbed to their injuries on Sunday, raising the death toll from the blasts to six.

Monirul Islam, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Jalalabad Police Station, and Fahim Ahmed Mahdi, a resident of Kuchai area of the upazila and deputy secretary(environment affairs) of Dakkhin Surma upazila BCL unit succumbed to their injures at Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital, said Jalalabad thana OC Akther Hossain.

Meanwhile, the 1st namaj-e-janaza of the two police officials-OC Monirul and  Sylhet court inspector Abu Kawsar –was held at the field of Sylhet Police lines at 2pm, said the OC.

Later, their bodies will be sent to their respective home district.

Earlier on Saturday evening, four people, including a policeman and an activist of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), were killed and 40 people injured in two bomb blasts near the militant hideout.

Besides, two injured officers of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) were referred to Dhaka Combined Military Hospital (CMH) due to their critical condition.

The injured are Lt Col Abul Kalam Azad, commanding officer of intelligence wing of Rab headquarters and deputy commanding officer Major Azad.

Besides, the authorities of OMCH cancelled the vacation of all staff of the hospital following the incident.

Jedan Al Musa, Additional Deputy Police Commissioner (media) of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP), said two people carrying bombs came to the spot riding a motorcycle and hurled those around 6:45 pm on Saturday when one of the bombs went off, leaving BCL activist Atiq Rahman Apu, 20, dead on the spot and 17 people including Fahim injured, while another bomb remained unexploded. 

Minutes later, the unexploded bomb went off when police picked it up to diffuse, leaving Sylhet court inspector Abu Kawsar dead on the spot and officer-in-charge (investigation) Monirul Islam of Jalalabad Police Station, and OC Shah Harun-or-Rashid of Dakkhin Surma Police Station seriously injured. 

Police recovered a motorcycle from the spot, Musa added.

Meanwhile, Shiblu Malakar, 27, son of Basanta Malakar of the area, suffered bullet wounds as he was watching the drive from a temple adjacent to Atia Mahal.

Amid explosions and gunshots the members of joint forces, led by army Para Commandos stormed the militants' den on Saturday afternoon and rescued 78 members of 28 families trapped in the building.

After about a 30-hour siege to the 'militants' den' by joint forces , a team of Para Commando Battalion of Bangladesh Army, led by GOC Major General Anwarul Momen, launched operation, 'Twilight', in  the building named 'Atia Mahal' around 9 am on Saturday.

  
On Friday night, army commandos joined the joint forces to raid the house after police cordoned it off in the early hours of Friday. A SWAT unit reached the spot on Friday from Dhaka.

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