The man thought to be behind the deadly attack on a Dhaka cafe last month has been killed in a gunfight with security forces in central Bangladesh, police said on Saturday.
The gunfight, in which two other suspected terrorists were also killed, erupted early Saturday when police raided a militant hideout in the town of Narayanganj, 20 kilometres east of Dhaka.
Bangladeshi-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, who had earlier been identified as the mastermind of the attacks at the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1, was among the terrorists killed in the raid, Inspector General of Police Shahidul Hoque said.
Twenty civilians, mostly foreign nationals, were killed in the attack in Dhaka's Gulshan diplomatic area.
Two security personnel and six militants were also killed when army commandos stormed the cafe to rescue the hostages.
Chowdhury, a leader of the banned Islamist group Jamaatul Mujaheedin Bangladesh, was trained in Syria and had planned almost all recent attacks in Bangladesh, the police chief said.
Local residents said they had heard gunfire rocking the area after police cordoned off the three-storey building in the Paikpara area of Narayanganj.
The head of Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism unit Monirul Islam said that the raid had been conducted based on information that the terrorists had been hiding in the building.
He said the terrorists had fired guns and set off grenades after the police asked them to surrender. Police retaliated by firing shots, killing three of the suspected terrorists, he said.
An AK-22 rifle, two pistols and three live grenades were found in the hideout after the operation concluded, added the officer.
Police had announced a reward worth about Tk 2 million (25,000 dollars) for information on the terrorists, including Chowdhury.
On July 26, nine militants were killed during a police raid in the Kalyanpur neighbourhood of Dhaka.