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Iran Press TV

Bangladesh police kill two members of Jamaat-e-Islami Party

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:44PM

Bangladeshi police have shot dead two members of the country's Jamaat-e-Islami Party in gunfights amid growing concern of extrajudicial killings by security forces across the Asian country.

Azbahar Ali Sheikh, a senior police officer, confirmed that a Jamaat leader from the western district of Jhenaidah and a leader of its student wing were killed during a raid early Tuesday.

"They fired from pistols and threw three (Molotov) cocktails at policemen when they challenged them at 3:45 am. We fired back and two people were hit. Later we learnt their identities," media outlets quoted Ali Sheikh as saying.

A senior Jamaat official has vehemently denied that the two party figures were killed in gun battles, saying both had been picked up by plainclothesmen early last month.

"It is cooked up (by police)," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that another Jamaat member had also been killed in "fake gunfights."

Nur Khan Liton, a top human rights activist, called for a judicial probe into the latest killings, saying, "We've serious questions about these deaths. We think these are extrajudicial killings."

He added that local newspapers had earlier reported the two figures missing.

Bangladesh security forces have launched a major crackdown on suspected militants since a raid on a café in the capital Dhaka in early July, where more than 20 people, mainly foreign hostages, were killed.

In the wake of the massacre, the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group claimed responsibility for the assault but authorities in Dhaka strongly dismissed the claim, arguing that Daesh had no presence in the Muslim-majority country. However, according to security forces, the scale and sophistication of the attack suggested that transnational criminal networks had been involved.

Bangladesh has also been reeling from a wave of recent attacks by militants, with targets including foreigners, members of religious minorities, rights activists and bloggers.

The ongoing security crackdown, which has seen a string of suspects killed in gun battles, has raised concerns that opposition activists were among those being targeted.

Police have denied accusations of targeting opposition figures during the crackdown against local militant and extremist groups.

In 2013, Jamaat supporters staged violent protests, leaving some 500 people dead. Thousands were either detained or charged following the deadly protests.

The supporters of Jamaat claim the government has been eliminating their leaders.

Bangladesh has also hanged some senior leaders of the Jamaat in the country over a series of alleged war crimes dating back to 1971.

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