Bangladesh has once again launched a new offensive on so called Islamist militants in the country. A series of high profile raids on suspected militant hideouts have been carried out over the past few days. This comes in the wake of 4 terror incidents claimed by ISIS in Bangladesh over a 9 day period.
These attacks included:
- Two militants blowing themselves up to evade arrest in Chittagong;
- A suicide bomber with suspected links to ISIS, detonating the explosives strapped to himself near a military base in Dhaka
- A suicide bomber attacking a police box and exploding near Dhaka International Airport.
- The police operation at the suspected den of the banned Islamist Militant group- Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), in Sylhet. Two days into the police operation, 6 people, including two police officers were killed in bomb and grenade attacks before a further two militants blew themselves up days later.
Following the siege in Sylhet, the Bangladesh security forces launched a counter terrorism operation against militant groups in the region. The operation left 4 suspects dead following a prolonged gun battle. Days later seven to eight people were found blown up as police closed in on them in neighbouring Moulvibazar.
The recent increase in terror activity represents a shift from what was a relative calmness in the country. Bangladesh was in a heightened state of alertness following the siege in July of 2016 at The Holy Artisan Bakery where 20 people were killed, many of whom were foreign nationals. Following this attack heightened security and vigilance amongst people throughout the country led to Bangladeshis beginning to feel safe again. There was a perception among regular citizens of Dhaka and Khulna that Naga spoke to that the government had done a very good job in defeating the so called militants.
The recent spate of attacks is likely to challenge this perception.