One of the masterminds behind the deadly attack at a cafe in Dhaka which claimed the lives of over 20 people on 1 July 2016 has reportedly died. Nurul Islam Marzan was "found dead" during a pre-dawn raid on Friday (6 January) in the capital, police said.

According to AFP, the bodies of Marzan and another suspected extremist were found in Dhaka's Rayer Bazar neighbourhood after officers raided a property in the area. "We found two bodies. One of them was Marzan and another was a suspected extremist," additional deputy commissioner Yusuf Ali said.

He added that it was not yet clear whether Marzan died in a gunfight or had committed suicide.

Bangladeshi officials also said that the 30-year-old was "one of the masterminds" of the attack on the upmarket Holey Artisan Bakery, which raised concerns regarding the growth of the Islamic extremism in the country.

Islamic State (Isis) had claimed responsibility for the attack and posted pictures of gunmen who were carrying a flag of the militant group.

However, authorities of Bangladesh denied that IS (Daesh) had any involvement in the attack and blamed the home-grown Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) for the massacre.

Following the attack, at least 40 JMB members have been killed in a severe crackdown against the group and a number of raids have been conducted at alleged hideouts of the outfit. The JMB was reportedly inactive following the execution of senior leaders in March 2007. However, it is believed to have regrouped with educated and young militants taking on the reins.

Officials have also accused the group of carrying out a series of attacks on religious minorities, foreigners and rights activists.

Dhaka cafe siege
Policemen patrol outside the Holey Artisan Bakery and the O'Kitchen Restaurant as others inspect the site after gunmen attacked it in Dhaka, Bangladesh - File image REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File photo