Bangladesh police detain 3 suspected militants, find explosives during raid

DHAKA A Bangladesh anti-terrorist force killed two members of a banned Islamist group on Monday, a force spokesman said, the latest clash in a intensified a hunt for militants behind a spate of violence.

The Chittagong University authorities have cancelled studentships of three post-graduates for having links with the banned militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mojahideen, Bangladesh (JMB).

"They (JMB men) hurled bombs as we laid the siege around the incomplete abandoned building house at the midnight yesterday, prompting us to retaliate... the two JMB activists were killed instantly", elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) spokesman Mufti Mahmud Khan told newsmen. "Later we found two bodies lying on the floor", he told AFP.

Bangladesh has suffered a wave of Islamist militant violence in recent months, including a series of attacks on mosques, Christian priests and Hindu temples. "This is the first time anything like this has been seized in Chittagong", said Detective Branch Sub Inspector Santosh Chakma, a member of the raiding team.

The arrests come just days after a 15-hour crackdown on a JMB hideout in Dhaka's Mirpur area where six were held with explosive vests and improvised grenades. Police found a modern assault rifle, a huge cache of bullets, bombmaking equipment and army uniforms during the operation.

Hathazari police OC Mohammad Ismail on Sunday night said one of them was lodged under the Arms Act and the other under the Explosives Act.

The nationwide blasts coincided with the launch of a campaign to introduce Sharia law in the Muslim-majority but officially secular nation.

The government has denied that Islamic State has a presence in the country of 160 million people.

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