Law enforcers have dealt Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh's new faction a severe body blow over the last ten months, killing leader Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury and 30 of its operatives. Two other identified members of the deadly group, affiliated with Islamic State, have died by their own hands – one in a suicide mission and another to evade arrest.
The dead militants were involved in attacks carried out and claimed by the Islamic State group since October last year, police say.
Militant Md Tarek Aziz alias Musa died in the suicide attack on an Ahmadiyya mosque in Baghmara, Rajshahi on December 26.
Md Shamsher Uddin alias Abdul Karim
alias Tanvir Qadri, who rented safe houses for New JMB operatives in Bashundhara, Kallyanpur and Narayanganj areas, killed himself during a police raid in Dhaka's Azimpur area on Saturday.
Nine of the 31 militants belonging to the outfit were killed before the July 1 Gulshan attack and another eight have been killed in raids since August.
The government does not recognise the killed militants as IS members because they say the international terrorist group does not have an organisational structure here. Instead, it labels the militants as members of New JMB.
"There is no terrorist or militant from outside or who are linked to the [Islamic State], but there are militants inside our country and they are homegrown,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said recently.
[caption id="attachment_16014" align="alignleft" width="150"] Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury
After the police operation in Narayanganj that killed New JMB coordinator and Gulshan attack mastermind Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury
on August 27, and Tamim's second-in-command Zahidul lislam alias Maj Murad in a Mirpur raid on September 2, investigators identified Maulana Abul Kashem
as the group's spiritual leader.
Detectives say the once-mighty JMB, which was formed in 1998 and banned in 2005, has now split into three small groups due to the detention of its second ameer Maulana Saidur Rahman in 2010 and the execution of five top leaders, including its founder Shayakh Abdur Rahman, in 2007.
Law enforcers are now looking for Kashem – a former leader of the main JMB and former principal of Okhabari Madrasa in Dinajpur, and a dozen other coordinators and top leaders of the New JMB including Nurul Islam Marjan
. Detectives claim they have also identified a number of foreign and local financiers and patronisers
of the group.
Tamim, 30, a Canadian citizen who came to Bangladesh on October 5, 2013 via Dubai, is believed to have formed the new militant outfit
. Tamim is believed to have met Kashem in July last year. During the meeting, Kashem gave Tamim the nom de guerre Abu Bakar al-Hanif.
Dabiq, the IS's propaganda magazine, published an interview
of al-Hanif and referred to him as IS's chief in Bangladesh.
[caption id="attachment_16020" align="alignleft" width="412"] Inside the Kallyanpur den
In the interview, he said attacks were being planned against India and Myanmar where he said Muslims were being persecuted, from their base in Bangladesh. But this process will take time due to the presence of Hindus in Bangladesh, Hanif said.
The group began its operations last year by killing Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio
in Kaunia, Rangpur on October 3, according to the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit that deals with militancy-related cases.
But according to IS news agency Amaq, the group's first attack was the killing of Italian citizen and NGO worker Cesare Tavella
in Gulshan on September 28. Police recently pressed charges in the case against a number of BNP leaders and activists who allegedly hired gunmen to target and kill an expatriate.
Amaq lists 26 operations
carried out until August 23, when a Hindu grocer survived a machete attack in Narsingdi. During this time, the deadliest single attack, which left 23 people including 17 foreigners dead, took place at a Gulshan eatery on July 1.
Other victims of the attacks include non-Sunni and non-Muslim preachers, liberals and law enforcers.
[caption id="attachment_16024" align="alignleft" width="331"] Shafiul Islam Sohan
Even though IS did not claim the July 7 attack on police near the Sholakia
Eid congregation and another attack on a Hindu college teacher in Madaripur
on June 15, investigators believe the same group was behind those attacks.
Some attacks, including militant-style strikes against Christians, Hindus, Shias, two Hindu temples in Dinajpur and grenade attacks on Navy mosques in Chittagong, have not been claimed
by any group.
Tally of Islamic State militant deaths
November 25, 2015:
Al-Bani alias Hozza Bhai
alias Member Bhai alias Shahadat alias Mahfuz, 28, killed in a gunfight in Dhaka. A group commander, he was involved in attacks on police in Gabtoli and Ashulia, and the bomb attack on Hussaini Dalan.
January 13, 2016:
New JMB's Dhaka north military wing commander Abdullah Al Noman alias Abdullah
, 31, and second-in-command of JMB's central military wing Kamal alias Hiron, 25, killed in a gunfight in Dhaka. They were involved in attacks on police in Gabtoli and Ashulia, and the bomb attack on Hussaini Dalan.
June 7, 2016:
New JMB mid-level leader Sultan Mahmud alias Kamal alias Rana
and Tareque Hasan Milu alias Ilias alias Osman killed in a shoot-out in Dhaka. They were involved in the Shia mosque attack in Bogra and the murder of Prof Rezaul Karim Siddique.
[caption id="attachment_16016" align="alignleft" width="156"] Jamal Uddin
June 7, 2016:
New JMB member Jamal Uddin
, who helped suicide bomber Aziz alias Musa to carry the bomb inside the Ahmadiyya mosque in Baghmara, Rajshahi, killed in a shoot-out at Godagari of Rajshahi a day after his arrest.
June 8, 2016:
New JMB member Md Kawsar
alias Kawsar Ali, accused in Bogra Shia mosque attack, killed in a gunfight at Shibganj in Bogra.
June 18, 2016:
Detained New JMB member Golam Faizullah Fahim
killed in a gunfight in Madaripur on the first day of his 10-day remand. He was caught by locals on June 15 while fleeing after hacking a Hindu teacher of Government Nazimuddin College. Two of his associates managed to flee and the teacher survived.
[caption id="attachment_16023" align="alignleft" width="447"] The five terrorists who stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery on July 1
July 2, 2016:
Five New JMB members killed in Operation Thunderbolt
at Holey Artisan Bakery and O' Kitchen, Gulshan.
July 7, 2016:
New JMB member Abir Rahman
killed during a gunfight with police in Sholakia.
July 26, 2016:
Nine members of New JMB killed in Operation Storm 26
August 2, 2016:
Wanted in 11 cases of militant attacks and facing Tk1 lakh bounty, Nazrul Islam alias Parvez alias Bike Hasan
killed during a raid in Rajshahi city.
August 4, 2016:
Sholakia attacker and Joggeshwar murder accused Shafiul Islam Sohan alias Shariful alias Abu Muktadil
killed in a gunfight in Nandail, Mymensingh.
August 27, 2016:
New JMB coordinator Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, Kazi Fazle Rabbi and Tausif Hossain killed in Operation Hit Strong 27
[caption id="attachment_16019" align="alignleft" width="259"] Zahidul alias 'Maj Murad'
August 28, 2016: Khaled Hasan alias Badar Mama
, New JMB's northern region military wing commander, and his assistant Ripon killed in Rajshahi. Khalid was involved in the attempted murder of Italian doctor Piero Parolari in Dinajpur in November 2015.
September 2, 2016:
Retired army official Zahidul Islam alias Maj Murad
, the second-in-command of Tamim Chowdhury, killed in a raid in Dhaka's Mirpur.