Apparently her motive was to blow herself up in the midst of policemen as she detonated a suicide vest while rushing to them with her four-year-old daughter.
A few steps from the law enforcers, the suspected female militant, Shakira, died in the blast with parts of her body being damaged. The baby girl, Sabina, survived with serious injuries.
Counterterrorism officials witnessed the horrific scene while conducting a raid on a militant hideout in the capital's Ashkona yesterday.
A 14-year-old boy, son of deceased “Neo JMB” leader Tanvir Kaderi, also got killed in the operation, codenamed Ripple 24.
Besides, two women -- wife of Major (retd) Jahid, allegedly the trainer of Gulshan and Sholakia attackers, and wife of “Neo JMB” leader Maynul Musa -- surrendered with two babies.
After ignoring for hours the call for surrender, Shakira walked out of the den slowly with her daughter in front of her around 12:30pm, according to a police official who took part in the raid.
“As the woman in Burqa continued to walk towards us but was not raising her hands in surrender ignoring our repeated calls, we suspected something was wrong,” said Mohibul Islam, deputy commissioner of the DMP's Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.
“At one point, she sped up and pulled something in her waist detonating the suicidal vest.”
Inspector Shafiq Ahmed of CTTC unit also suffered minor injuries in the explosion.
Law enforcers immediately took the baby girl to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and the injured officer to another hospital. Shakira's body was sent to DMCH morgue around 10:00pm.
Sabina, who mentioned her parents' names as Iqbal and Shakira, was in a serious condition as her alimentary canal sustained 10 to 12 punctures, the resident surgeon of DMCH told The Daily Star.
Details about the family could not be known immediately.
Those who surrendered said Sabina's father could be a militant named Suman, police added.
SWAT, Bomb Disposal Unit of the CTTC and different other units were involved in the 15-hour raid in the densely populated neighbourhood. The target was a flat on the ground floor of a three-storey building of Jamal Hossain, a Bangladeshi living in Kuwait.
The 14-year-old, Afif Kaderi, whose father Tanvir committed suicide during the September 10 raid on a militant hideout in Azimpur, refused to surrender.
After Shakira's death, Afif alias Ador alias Abir opened fire at police from inside the three-room flat.
Police fired shots and gas grenades and shots as Afif did not surrender. Officials said Afif might have been killed in police firing around 2:30pm.
Afif's body was not recovered last night as, police say, there was still gas and explosives in the flat.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, who visited the scene, said the boy got engaged in gunfight with police and finally blasted a grenade that left him dead.
During the operation beginning at 12:30am, the two women responded to police call and came out around 9:15am.
Jebunnahar Shila, widow of Major (retd) Jahid alias Murad, surrendered with her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Trsihna, wife of Musa, too was with her daughter, aged six to seven months.
Jahid was killed in an operation in Rupnagar on September 2. A week later, law enforcers conducted another raid on Azimpur den where Shila used to live.
She, however, escaped arrest in Azimpur while Tahrim Kaderi, twin brother of Afif, was taken into custody from the house and he is now in jail.
The two women surrendered to the police along with a pistol and several bullets after law enforcers made the call using a loudspeaker, Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (Media) of DMP said.
A number of anti-militant operations have taken place since the July 1 Gulshan café attack that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners.
Over the last few months, law enforcers conducted such drives in Kalyanpur, Rupnagar, Azimpur, Savar, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Tangail, killing 26 suspected militants, including “Neo JMB” coordinator Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, thought to be one of the masterminds of the café attack.
Officials at the CTTC unit said they were hunting for Shila, Afif and Musa. A few days back, Musa was traced in Ashkona area.
They finally located the den on Friday and conducted the raid but failed to capture Musa.
Police reached the three-storey Surya Villa at 12:30am and asked the landlord's wife and daughter about their tenants who rented the ground-floor flat in September.
Police managed to bring in Shila's mother and brother to echo the police plea to the suspects.
Mohammad Ali Rubel, a banker who was trapped in his flat on the first-floor during the operation, said, “Police came around 12:30am and asked me about the suspected militants. But I couldn't say as I never saw them. I requested them to ask the building owner, who lives on the second floor.”
Around 6:45am, police urged the suspects on the ground-floor flat over loudspeaker to surrender and assured them that they would not be harmed.
It went in vain when Shila's mother first urged her daughter to surrender over the loudspeakers from outside the building.
Officials say the mother with the help of police then wore a bulletproof vest and went inside the building and made an emotional appeal to her daughter.
“I am your Ma [mother]…. Please come out. I want to see you alive”
She even went near the flat, talked to Shila through a window.
Shila held her girl near the window and the grandmother touched the baby with affection, police said.
At one stage, Shila agreed to surrender and walked out. Trishna followed her.
It was probably the first time that suspected militants surrendered to police during a drive at militant dens. The police calls for surrender went in vain in Kalyanpur, Narayanganj and Azimpur and in other places.
“A to-let sign was hanging here. A man identifying him as Mohammad Imtiaz Ahmed, an online business man, rented it on September 1. The man, his wife and their 40-day-old baby moved here two days later,” said Jonaki Russell, elder daughter of house owner Jamal Hossian.
Imtiaz had said one of his sisters would also stay in the flat occasionally. He provided a national ID card and filled up the tenant information form.
“We submitted the form and ID card to local police immediately,” Jonaki added.
A top police official told The Daily Star that the man faked the ID card to hide his identity.
Police suspect it was Musa who rented the flat but he didn't live there regularly.
Jonaki visited the flat three to four times and saw two beds, dining table and some other furniture. “We could not suspect them as they were polite,” she added.
The family rarely came out of the flat. As Jonaki asked about it, they said they prefer to stay indoor as hijras used to disturb them, demanding money for the birth of the baby, during their stay in Uttara before moving to Ashkona.
Hijras are often found in the city extorting from families with newborns.
Jonaki saw several mattresses folded on the floor. “We use those when our relatives visit us,” she quoted the wife of Imtiaz as saying.
Rubel, a bank official, said, “I did not know anyone from the flat as the doors always remained shut. I did not see anyone.”
WHO IS MUSA?
Musa, aged around 40, had friendship with Tanvir Kaderi for long. He along with Major (retd) Jahid used to visit Tanvir's Uttara home with their spouses and children.
Musa used to tutor Afif and Tahrim, Mathematics, English and Science.
He also used to visit Tanvir's Pallabi home.
Tanvir moved to Pallabi from Uttara before renting the Bashundhara house from where the Gulshan café attack was coordinated, according to the confessional statement of Tahrim.
Musa used to give Tanvir “jihadi videos on Syria war”. Tahrim also said they were given copies of Dabiq, propaganda magazine of global terror body Islamic State, according to police.
“Neo JMB”, an offshoot of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), is inspired by the ideologies of Islamic State.
Any unauthorized use or reproduction of The Daily Star content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.