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‘JMB man Rajib behind Gulshan attack’

  • Published at 02:32 am July 20th, 2016
  • Last updated at 02:33 pm July 20th, 2016
‘JMB man Rajib behind Gulshan attack’
Officers investigating the Gulshan restaurant attack claim to have identified the coordinator of the joint militant operation that killed 22 people including foreigners and police on July 1. Police earlier said that the mastermind, who had instructed Rajib to execute the operation, had fled to West Bengal at least seven months ago. The law enforcers are looking for another top militant involved in the attack who is now in Dhaka. Meanwhile, detectives suspect that a teacher of Islamic University of Technology (IUT, Gazipur) in Gazipur was one of the financiers of the operation on Holey Artisan Bakery. The teacher, who could not be named, transferred a large sum of money to several accounts days before the attack. The receivers include an associate of one of the five Gulshan attackers killed on July 2 morning in a commando operation. In 2009, detectives arrested one Pakistani and three students from the IUT, Gazipur campus allegedly for planning an attack on the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Rajib main coordinator

The Gulshan attack was finalised at a meeting attended by top militant leaders of the JMB and two other outlawed groups – Ansarullah Bangla Team and Hizb ut-Tahrir – in a northern Bangladesh district two months ago. To implement the plan, Rajib rented two flats at Bashundhara and west Shewrapara for the attackers, collected arms and bombs, and finalised the escape route from the restaurant. Rajib and other members went to the restaurant on Road 79 in Gulshan 2 several times to make a layout, especially to ensure smooth escape of the attackers, detectives said. But the plans did not work as the militants faced obstacles during the operation. First, they were barred from entering the restaurant by the two security guards, who were unarmed; and they fled the scene as soon as the attackers fired blank shots. The militants had to spend more time inside the restaurant than previously assumed as their instructor wanted photos of slaughtering the victims. And when they were leaving after killing most of the foreign guests a patrol team of local police appeared at the scene all of a sudden, forcing the militants to open fire and get inside the restaurant again. More teams of police came to the scene quickly and made it impossible for the attackers to flee. Rajib was waiting outside with the other members of the gang. But they had to return without the attackers. Even though all the five militants had been killed on July 2, the law enforcers have got a lot of information about the Gulshan attack plan from a person arrested in connection with the Sholakia attack. Saiful Islam, acting deputy commissioner of the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes unit, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday that they had made some progress but refused to share details for the sake of investigation.

Diplomatic zone an old target

Investigators have learnt that the JMB planned to attack an establishment in the Gulshan diplomatic zone nearly a year ago. Their first plan was to launch attack on a private television station office. But the plan was foiled following the arrest of several JMB men. The law enforcers also increased security at the TV station. They later planned to attack a high profile restaurant, but it could not be executed as one of the key militants – JMB leader Albani alias Hozza Bhai alias Shahadat – was killed in a gunfight with the police in November last year. The militant outfit faced another setback as two JMB leaders – Abdullah Al Noman and Kamal alias Hiron – were killed in gunfights in mid-January this year. They later finalised the Holey Artisan Bakery attack and assigned Rajib to execute the plan. On June 27, the DMP commissioner was alerted by an intelligence agency about a possible attack in the Gulshan area. The report said that the top leaders of some militant groups had taken shelter in Dhaka and Tangail recently in a bid to launch attacks. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday said that several law enforcement agencies were conducting drives across the country to arrest the masterminds and financiers behind the two attacks.