Eleven suspected Islamist extremists were killed in anti-militant raids conducted by security forces in two central Bangladeshi districts, officials said on Saturday.
Two suspects were killed in a gunfight with members of the Rapid Action Battalion in Tangail, more than 70 kilometers north-west of Dhaka, battalion spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan said.
Nine suspects were gunned down in the district of Gazipur, 30 kilometres north of Dhaka, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters.
According to Monirul Islam, chief of Bangladesh’s counterterrorism unit of police, police acting on a tip-off cordoned off two separate homes in which suspected militants were hiding.
Demands by police to surrender triggered firefights at both locations leaving seven militants dead at one hideout and two dead at the other.
The head of the military wing of the banned militant group Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) was among the dead, the Home Minister said.
"They all are militants. Their identity will be disclosed soon," Khan said of the suspects, who were between the ages of 17 and 25.
Banned in 2005, the militant group was blamed for the July 1 attack on a Dhaka restaurant, in which 20 civilians - mostly foreign nationals - were killed.
Two security personnel and six militants were also killed in the July incident when army commandos stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka’s Gulshan diplomatic area to rescue hostages.
Since that attack, police have killed at least 14 suspected militants, including a Bangladeshi-born Canadian man, in counter-terrorism operations.
Meanwhile, the Rapid Action Battalion said they captured a JMB financer along with cash, firearms, bullets and a mobile jammer in Ashulia industrial district near Dhaka.