Bangladesh Army battles Islamic terrorists holding building under siege in Sylhet, more than 70 rescued

Members of Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion cross a street after a bomber was killed in a blast at a police checkpoint at Dhaka Airport on March 24. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Dhaka, Dhaka Division, Bangladesh Mar 25, 2017, 01.49 PM (IST) Saad Hammadi

Nearly 48 hours into a joint counter-terrorist operation in the northeastern Sylhet in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Army fears that the entire building where the terrorists have been staying has been planted with improvised explosive devices.

The building has 30 flats with 150 rooms. Snipers have spotted the terrorists moving between the floors in the building.

The terrorists have been exchanging fires and charging explosives.

Operation is still continuing till the filing of this report.

Twenty-eight families, comprising of 30 males, 27 females and 21 children, were rescued prior to launching an assault operation. 

The army is making efforts to have the terrorists surrender to avert casualties and damage.

"We wish to have them surrender alive and for that we are conducting the operation with full caution," said Lt Col Rashidul Hasan, director of ISPR, Bangladesh.

That way the explosives can be neutralised and there will be less casualties, he told WION.

The Counter Terrorist and Transnational Crime unit fear that Mynul Musa, one of the leading members of the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh is among the terrorists in the building.

Dhaka has been rocked with two suicide bomb blasts in space of a week. On Friday a suicide bomber blew up himself at a police checkpost near the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. No casualties were reported.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for both suicide bombings.

Major government establishments, key point installations, airport, prisons and passenger terminals and public places have been put on high alert.