Three alleged Islamists killed in Bangladesh before Pope's visit
DHAKA: Three suspected Islamist extremists were killed on Tuesday in a raid by Bangladesh police as security was stepped up before Pope Francis's landmark visit to the Muslim-majority nation, officials said.
The suspects opened fire and threw bombs at Rapid Action Battalion police who cordoned off a house where they were hiding near the border with India, officials said. "We called on them to surrender. But they responded by opening fire and throwing bombs. Moments later we heard loud explosions inside the house," Major Ashraf, an RAB officer, say.
The officer said a search of the tin-roofed house in Chapai Nawabganj district in the northwest of the country was being completed.
RAB deputy head Colonel Anwar Latif Khan told AFP that "three people who were involved in Islamist militancy were killed" in the explosions.
RAB officials said the house was raided following a tip-off.
Pope Francis arrives in Bangladesh on Thursday for a three-day visit, the first by a Vatican leader in 31 years.
The visit will be dominated by the plight of more than 620,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled ethnic unrest in Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh authorities have tightened security in the capital before the visit, with police patrolling around Christian churches and places where Francis will visit.
"There will be the highest security measures for the Pope," Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP. "We have taken the measures in consultations with the Christian community here."
The Pope will meet a group of Rohingya refugees in Dhaka and conduct a mass at Suhrawardi Udyan. AGENCIES