Two Islamist militants, including one of the masterminds of last year's terror attack at a popular cafe in Dhaka, were killed in a gunfight with police in Bangladesh during a pre-dawn raid on Friday.
Neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen's wanted leader Nurul Islam alias Marjan and another unidentified extremist were killed by Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit in Mohammadpur Beribadh area of the capital.
"One is identified as Marjan and another still unknown," Monirul Islam, chief of CTTC of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, confirmed the incident to The Daily Star.
Police say Marjan coordinated the July 1 attack on Gulshan's Holey Artisan Bakery that killed 22 people, including an Indian.
"Acting on a tip-off, we conducted a raid around 3am...Sensing our presence, the militants opened fire at us. In retaliation, we fired back that left the two injured," Monirul said. Later, they were declared dead when taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
According to an investigator, former Islami Chhatra Shibir leader Marjan was the youngest military commander of the Neo-JMB, a new faction of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) affiliated with Islamic State, Dhaka Tribune reported.
He also had connection with a number of top leaders of the outfit. Marjan had expertise in operating heavy arms.
Marjan had stayed in the militant den of Gobindaganj in Gaibandha for a long period where he reportedly gave motivational training to seven militants. Of the seven, five took part in the Gulshan terror attack.
On July 1, militants stormed Holey Artisan Bakery. The attackers took diners and restaurant staff hostage and had confrontations with police, killing two police officials. Next morning, a joint commando force stormed the bakery, killing all the attackers and rescuing the captives, ending the terror siege of nearly 11 hours.