DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh police on Friday killed the man they believe trained the militants who attacked a Dhaka cafe on July 1 killing 22 people, a senior police official said.
The man, known as Murad, was the head of the military wing of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, Additional Inspector General of Police Mokhlesur Rahman said.
“He trained the attackers who carried out the July attack,” Rahman told reporters, adding police were still trying to identify his actual name.
He was killed in a shootout when police launched a raid after being tipped-off to his whereabouts just outside the capital. Four police officers were wounded when the militant attacked them with machetes, a pistol and grenades, Rahman said.
The raid came six days after Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, accused of masterminding the cafe attack, was killed when police stormed a militant hideout.
Analysts say Islamic State in April identified Chowdhury as its national commander. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the cafe attack where militants singled out non-Muslims and foreigners, killing Italians, Japanese, an American and an Indian.
The attack in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter was one of the most brazen in Bangladesh, where Islamic State and al Qaeda have claimed a series of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in the past year.
The government denies that Islamic State or al Qaeda have a presence in the Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people.
But security experts say the scale and sophistication of the cafe assault suggested links to a trans-national network.
The scale of that attack and the targeting of foreigners has could hurt foreign investment in the poor South Asian economy, whose $28 billion garments export industry is the world’s second largest.
On July 26, police killed nine militants believed to be plotting a similar assault.
Editing by Robin Pomeroy