2017 South Surma Upazila bombings

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2017 South Surma Upazila bombings
Part of Terrorism in Bangladesh
LocationSouth Surma Upazila, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Date25 March 2017
TargetCivilians and police officers
WeaponsExplosive belts
Deaths11 (including 4 suicide bombers)[1][2]
Non-fatal injuries
40+
PerpetratorsIslamic State
Assailants4 suicide bombers[1]

The 2017 South Surma Upazila bombings was a combined police and army raid of a suspected militant hideout in South Surma Upazila, Sylhet, Bangladesh on 25 March 2017. During the raid, the militants targeted the Bangladesh Armed Forces who were surrounding the militant occupied compound in Sylhet. There were two suicide bombings which killed four civilians including two police officers and wounded more than 40, some critically. An army lieutenant colonel later died from his injuries.[2] Bombs exploded and gunfire was reported when the military launched Operation Twilight to clear the militant hideout.[3][4][5][6] ISIL claimed responsibility however, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal denied the claims of ISIL and blamed the local Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh for the attacks.[7] Finally the Bangladesh Army neutralised four militants at the suspected hideout.[1][8]

Background[edit]

On Thursday, 23 March 2017, the Bangladesh Police surrounded a suspected militant hideout in South Surma Upazila, Sylhet, Bangladesh. The hideout was located in a housing complex which consisted of two apartment buildings. The police unit was reinforced with personnel from a rapid reaction battalion on the Friday.[9][10] On Saturday, the 1st Para Commando Battalion took charge of operations.[10]

Operation Twilight[edit]

Operation Twilight was launched by the 1st Para Commando Battalion of the Bangladesh Army under the command of Major General Anwarul Momen, GOC 17th Infantry Division in Jalalabad Cantonment. First the security forces established a three kilometre perimeter around the militant hideout. Then the operation was launched on Saturday morning at 8 am.[11] Two militants were killed in the initial attack, one of whom detonated a suicide vest. The commandos rescued 78 civilians who had been trapped in the building since Thursday.[12] The militants had planted improvised explosive devices (IEDs) all over the building which slowed down the operation.[13] The main gate of the building was blocked by a refrigerator with an IED booby trap attached to it.[14] Army spokesman, Brigadier General Fakhrul Ahsan, initially reported that the operation would take more time because of the presence of scattered IEDs in strategic points inside the building. “We used a rocket launcher to punch a hole through the wall. We used explosives but those didn’t work out. Then we used a Thai shell and successfully neutralised two militants,” Brigadier General Fakhrul said.[15] The commandos arrived in armoured personnel carriers from their military base for the operation.[16] The building had 30 apartments and 150 rooms, and the militants constantly changed their location.[17] The operation was launched on Saturday morning at 8 am. The Commando unit was assisted by SWAT forces and Bangladesh police.[18] Finally four militants were found dead at the hideout.[1][8]

Bombing[edit]

On 26 March, while Operation Twilight was in progress, militants bombed a crowd of about 500–600 onlookers gathered near the cordon perimeter,[19] which was about 400 metres from the militant hideout.[20] Two bombs were used in the attack. The first was thrown by two individuals from a motorcycle at 6.45 pm. The second was left in a bag containing vegetables and exploded at 7.55, after police and RAB personnel moved into the area following the first explosion. Six people, including two police officers, were killed in the explosions and 44 injured.[21][20][22][23] Lieutenant Colonel Abul Kalam Azad, director of intelligence of RAB, was seriously injured in the second explosion. He was taken to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College for primary care. Then he was flown to the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka. He was later flown to Singapore for better treatment, but died from his injuries.[24] Police Inspector Monirul Islam of the bomb disposal squad and Inspector Abu Kawser were killed outright by the second explosion.[25][2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "4 militants dead at Sylhet den: Army". The Daily Star. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Sun, The Daily. "Lt Col Abul Kalam Azad's namaz-e-janaza held". Lt Col Abul Kalam Azad's namaz-e-janaza held | daily-sun.com. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Sylhet blasts kill four amid Bangladesh militant raid". BBC News. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  4. ^ "সিলেটে বোমা 'হামলার দায়' স্বীকার করলো আইএস". BBC Bangla. 26 March 2017 – via www.bbc.com.
  5. ^ "Sylhet raid Day 3: Eight dead, 40+ injured, Operation Twilight continues – Dhaka Tribune". 24 March 2017.
  6. ^ "Bangladesh bomb blasts kill six, scores injured". 26 March 2017 – via Reuters.
  7. ^ "Home minister: Sylhet blasts not linked to IS | Dhaka Tribune". Dhaka Tribune. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Live: Four militants killed as Sylhet raid nears end". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  9. ^ Manik, Julfikar Ali; Anand, Geeta (26 March 2017). "Bangladeshi Assault Kills 2 Militants but Fails to End Standoff". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b "It seems the army has settled for a long haul in Sylhet to neutralise the militants". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Blasts during Sylhet hideout operation kill 6". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Gunfire, blasts heard as Sylhet militant hideout siege enters third day". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  13. ^ "Two killed, more 'well-trained' militants inside, says army in Sylhet". bdnews24.com. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  14. ^ "3 killed, 31 hurt in blasts outside Sylhet 'militant den'". The Daily Star. 25 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  15. ^ "2 militants killed, Sylhet raid to linger: Army". The Daily Star. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Bangladesh commandos storm militants hideout in Sylhet, rescue 78 civilians". hindustantimes.com/. 25 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Blasts kill 5 amid raid". The Daily Star. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  18. ^ "Jt forces' anti-militant 'operation' launched". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  19. ^ "Islamic State's Amaq reports bomb blast in Sylhet | Dhaka Tribune". Dhaka Tribune. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  20. ^ a b "6 Killed, 50 Injured In Twin Blasts In Bangladesh's Sylhet. Anti-Terror Operation Under Way". NDTV.com. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Sylhet blasts kill four amid Bangladesh militant raid". BBC News. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Two terrorists killed as Sylhet operation continues for third day". WION. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Sylhet raid: What we know so far". Prothom Alo. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Explosives in Sylhet attack were time-bombs | Dhaka Tribune". Dhaka Tribune. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  25. ^ "2 militants killed, more remain in Sylhet den | Dhaka Tribune". Dhaka Tribune. 27 March 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2017.