At least nine suspected Islamist militants were killed in a raid on a building in the capital, Dhaka, Bangladesh police have said. Another presumed militant was arrested from the scene.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Masud Ahmed told AFP, "Nine Islamist militants were killed after an hour-long gunfight. Another extremist was shot and arrested during the raid in Kalyanpur neighbourhood."
Police cordoned off an apartment building when a small hand bomb was thrown at them by the suspects while they were conducting a block raid in the area after midnight. Throughout the night, the militants exchanged gunfire sporadically and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is the greatest) as hundreds of armed police and the special security forces, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), made their way to the area to seal off the neighbourhood.
Dhaka additional police commissioner Sheikh Maruf Hasan, who steered the raid said, "This morning police launched operation Storm 26 and was able to destroy the militants. We're now sweeping the place." He added that they were all a part of an Islamist militant group but did not specify which group they belonged to.
"Their dress and their slogans before and after the attack all proved that they are members of (Islamist) militant force," Hassan said, elaborating that they were wearing black tunics and shouting "Allahu Akbar."
The incident comes in the backdrop of regular violence in the country in recent times. Earlier this month, five terrorists stormed an upmarket cafe in the capital's diplomatic zone and took hostages. At least 20 people, including Japanese and Italians were killed in the attack.