11 suspected Islamist militants killed in Bangladesh raids
Security forces in Bangladesh have killed at least 11 suspected militants in three raids in a continuing crackdown against Islamic extremists, the home minister said.
Asaduzzaman Khan said the operations took place in Gazipur, just outside the capital of Dhaka, and in the central district of Tangail.
Mr Khan said the suspects were members of the banned group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB.
Bangladesh has recently been hit by Islamist extremists. A July 1 attack at a Dhaka restaurant left 20 hostages dead, including 17 foreigners.
Since that attack, the government has intensified its crackdown on suspected militant groups and killed some JMB leaders.
Officials said the raids began on Saturday morning based on information that militants were in the area.
Some firearms, bullets and meat cleavers were found during the raids, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the Rapid Action Battalion, which was involved in the raids.
Islamic State has claimed the Dhaka restaurant attack, but authorities have denied that, saying it was JMB, and that IS has no presence in the Muslim-majority country.
Mr Khan said one of the men killed in Gazipur was identified as Akash, a militant who had taken over the JMB's leadership after former leader Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi Canadian who fought in Syria for Islamic State, was killed with two associates in a raid in August.
Chowdhury was thought to be the top leader of what the security agencies called the "New JMB".