Bangladesh police Tuesday shot dead an alleged commander of a banned militant outfit blamed for last year's deadly cafe attack in the capital, an official said.
Police said Abu Jar was a close associate of Jahangir Alam, who was arrested last month after he allegedly led a campaign of targeted killings of religious minorities in the northern region.
Acting on a tip-off police raided a town outside the northern city of Bogra where Jar was killed in a gunfight, Bogra police chief Asaduz Zaman told AFP.
"We fired back after they opened fire at our officers," Zaman said, adding Jar was wanted in connection with several murder cases.
Bangladesh arrests four militants blamed for cafe attack
"Jar was the northwestern commander of the new Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and a close associate of the group's top extremist Jahangir Alam," he added.
Police said Alam was one of the masterminds of the siege of Dhaka's Holey Artisan Bakery cafe where 22 hostages, mostly foreigners, were killed by suspected gunmen of a "new-JMB".
Rights groups have raised questions about these gunfights saying many of these encounters were staged by officers to kill extremists. Several of them were allegedly found to be handcuffed when they were shot dead.
Police chief Zaman said Jar was "directly involved" in the murders of a Muslim and a Christian businessman. Both murders were however claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group. Jar's alleged boss Alam was accused of directly taking part in the murders of at least 22 religious minorities.
Bangladesh arrests top JMB militant blamed for Dhaka attack
Bangladesh has been reeling from a wave of attacks on foreigners, rights activists and members of religious minorities. The country's security forces has launched a deadly crackdown against militants following the cafe attack, killing around 50 militants, including most of the alleged leaders of JMB.
While many of those attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's secular government has blamed local militants instead, denying that international militant groups have gained a foothold in Bangladesh.
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