Police in Bangladesh say they have killed at least nine suspected militants in a raid on their hideout in the capital, Dhaka.
Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Masud Ahmed said a “two-hour gunfight” erupted between officers and the suspects, who were hiding in a building in the capital.
Security forces also arrested one of the men, who had sustained injuries in the scuffles. The suspected militants were reportedly planning to conduct a large-scale terrorist attack in the country.
An investigation is underway to determine which group they belonged to.
Reports say the men were wearing signature black robes of the Takfiri Daesh terror group, which has claimed a series of terror attacks in the Asian country in recent months.
However, officials say evidence showed they were members of local banned group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB).
National police chief A.K.M Shahidul Haque said the nine killed in Tuesday’s raid had no links with the Takfiri Daesh terror group.
“We think they are all JMB members… We have not found any link with IS [Daesh]. They are all local Bangladeshi militants,” Haque said.
Dhaka rejects the presence of Daesh and other foreign terror groups in Bangladesh, saying local militant groups, including the JMB and Hizb ut Tahrir, are behind the recent wave of terror activities in the country.
The Bangladeshi government blamed the JMP for an attack on the Gulshan café in Dhaka that killed at least 20 civilians, including foreigners, early this month. This is while Daesh had claimed responsibility for the fatal assault.
Police have arrested more than 11,000 suspects in a major crackdown on militants since mid-July.
Opposition parties have accused the government of using the crackdown to suppress political dissent, claiming that many of those arrested were ordinary and innocent people.