3 among Dhaka attack mastermind Tamim killed
-- 3 including Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury killed
-- Police carried out 'Operation Hit Strong 27'
-- Law enforcers raid house suspecting militant den
-- Paikpara area cordoned off
-- Criminals open fire on cops
Three militants including Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a mastermind of Gulshan café attack, were killed during a joint forces' raid at a house in Narayanganj Sadar upazila this morning.
Law enforcers were confirmed about Tamim's death as his photo matched with one of the militants killed during the raid, Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque told journalists after visiting the house in Paikpara area.
"Tamim's photo, which we have, matches completely with one of the dead militants, and it is clear that he must be Tamim Chowdhury," the IGP said.
Identities of the two other militants are yet to be ascertained, the IGP said.
The militants rented the flat after Eid-ul-Fitr identifying themselves as medicine traders, he added.
A joint team from Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit, police headquarters and district police together carried out the operation "Operation Hit Strong 27".
Earlier on July 26, nine militants were killed during a special drive of the joint forces in Dhaka's Kalyanpur, ending an overnight standoff that ensued with a raid to hunt down "militant den".
Operation Hit Strong 27
According to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, law enforcers cordoned off the three-storied building in Paikpara Boro Koborsthan area since 3:00am.
While talking to media, the IGP said, "We waited for a long time, I instructed lawmen to talk to them, if they surrender then we will let them come out with their hands over their heads," he said.
The IGP said law enforcers gave the militants a scope to surrender but they did not take it.
The militants said to have hurled grenades and opened fire at the law enforcers, who, in retaliation, fired several rounds.
After a one-hour operation, police entered the house and found three bodies inside the house, the IGP said.
Police confirmed the identity of one of the deceased as Tamim after matching photos, he added.
Who is Tamim?
Tamim, the Bangladeshi-Canadian, is one of the masterminds of the bakery attack. Police previously announced a cash reward for information leading to his arrest.
According to the investigators, he had accompanied the five Holey Artisan Bakery attackers from their Bashundhara flat to Gulshan, Dhaka and left the area after bidding them farewell just before the café siege began on July 1.
The five militants, carrying weapons including semi-automatic rifles, grenades and machetes, held diners hostage at the upscale eatery in the diplomatic zone.
The ensuing 11-hour standoff ended after the army-led commandos stormed the café. By the time, the militants had killed 20 hostages, including 17 foreigners, and two policemen in the worst-ever terror incident in the country.
The gunmen were killed in the commando drive, codenamed "Operation Thunderbolt".
The investigators have also found Tamim's involvement in the Sholakia attack on the July 7 Eid day that left four people, including two constables, an attacker, and a local woman, dead.
Tamim was also the mentor of the group the nine militants, killed in a police operation at Kalyanpur on July 26.
He used to frequent their flat in Kalyanpur and have meetings with them, give motivational speeches and guide them on planning militant attacks, according to the statement of a case filed following the police operation named "Storm 26".
The accused in the case, including Tamim, provided the nine militants with financial support, firearms, ammunition and explosives, the statement said, adding that the accused also trained the radicals.
On August 2, Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque has declared cash rewards of Tk 20 lakh each for information leading to the arrest of Tamim and sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haq.