Bangladesh cafe attack 'mastermind' killed in gunfight, say police

Bangladeshi authorities denied IS involvement in the cafe attack

One of the suspected masterminds of the cafe attack in Dhaka, Bangladesh in July in which 20 hostages died has been killed in a shootout, police said.

Nurul Islam Marzan and a second unidentified man were killed in the early hours of Friday in Dhaka.

The men's bodies were found after anti-terrorism police raided a building in the Rayer Bazar area, AFP reported.

The hostages were shot or hacked to death in what was Bangladesh's worst ever terror attack.

On 1 July last year, commandos stormed the Holey Artisan cafe in the Gulshan neighbourhood after a 12-hour siege, rescuing 13 people. Two police officers and six militants were killed.

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Marzan, a senior figure in the banned militant group Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), was believed to have been the operational commander of the attack.
It is thought to have been planned with Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Canadian of Bangladeshi descent, who was killed in a police raid near Dhaka in August 2016.

Bangladesh held two days of national mourning after the attack

The so-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the cafe attack, posting online images of the attackers with a black IS flag. But Bangladeshi authorities have long insisted IS has no presence in the country and that JMB was solely to blame.

Since the attack, authorities have led a crackdown on militants, leaving dozens dead, many of them senior members of JMB.

The roughly 30-year-old Marzan joined a branch of JMB in 2015, after dropping out of Chittagong University, where he was an Arabic student.