Bangladesh security forces hunt leader of a banned Islamic group

Bangladesh security forces on Wednesday cordoned off a house believed to be the hideout of the top leader of a banned Islamic group blamed for recent deadly bombings, officials said.

About 500 agents took part in the operation in the northeastern town of Sylhet town targeting Shaikh Abdur Rahman, leader of the banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, which has been blamed for recent bombings that killed 26 people nationwide, a security official said.

Rahman was believed to be holed up in a house in Sylhet's Shaplabagh district, 190 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Dhaka, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media.

He said that agents had surrounded the house and were using loudspeakers to call on the suspected leader to surrender.

"We are almost sure that the militant leader is hiding in there," said the official. "We are not yet raiding the house for fear of armed resistance. He may be holding bombs or arms."

Sylhet's mayor, Badruddin Kamran, told The Associated Press from the scene that he heard a man shouting from inside the single-story house that he will not surrender.

"We shall not surrender to those who don't follow the laws of Allah," Kamran quoted the unidentified man as shouting from inside the closed house. "We will commit suicide rather than give ourselves up," said the man.

Kamran was among the officials who were allowed by security agents to go near the suspected militant hideout, reports the AP.


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