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B’desh police kill suspect in minority murders

Bangladesh police shot dead an Islamist leader suspected in a series of recent killings targeting foreigners and religious minorities, an official said on Wednesday. Nazrul Islam, 28, was killed on Tuesday in a shoot-out with police, who said he had been involved in at least 11 murders and two other attempts and was a senior leader of the banned Islamist group Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Dhaka police described Islam, also known as Bike Hasan, as a “top JMB terrorist” and said they recovered a pistol and bullets from the site of the gunfight. Bangladesh blames the JMB for a recent wave of Islamist-inspired killings that have raised fears for the safety of religious minorities in the country. “He was shot dead during a gunfight at Mahendra Crossing in Rajshahi city early on Wednesday morning when we raided the area,” the city’s police commissioner Shafiqul Islam told AFP. “Later we learned that the person killed in the raid was the notorious Bike Hasan.” 

The 28-year-old earned the nickname for his skills on the motorbikes that the men behind the wave of killings have frequently used to make a quick getaway, Islam said. “It’s a major success in our ongoing drive against extremists,” he added.

Police suspect Nazrul Islam of involvement in the murder of at least five Hindu men as well as a Japanese farmer shot dead in northern Bangladesh last year. He is also accused in the killings of a liberal university professor, a leader of the minority Sufi faith and a Christian grocer.

Bangladesh authorities are under pressure to crack down on extremism in the world’s third largest Muslim-majority nation after a recent increase in gruesome attacks.
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