Vol. 5 Num 637 Tue. March 14, 2006  
Front Page

Day of horror

The house Jannatul Shafi or 'recommended for paradise' was turned into a hell on earth yesterday during an operation by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) against militants of outlawed Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

During a visit yesterday afternoon, blood and debris were seen littering the entire house.

The hands of two children were blown up, one hand and one leg of a woman were detached from her body, while the other hand and leg were hanging loose.

All the pieces of furniture turned into ashes, the doors and windows collapsed, and blood was oozing from the bodies scattering the rooms.

The walls inside the flats were riddled with bullets, the cushions of the sofa were torn and the lone PC was destroyed -- all a testimony to the intensity of the blast and gunshots fired by Rab.

Clean-shaved Shakil alias Mollah Omar, clad in a yellow T-shirt and black trousers, had wounds in his chest, possibly of bullets. Wires connecting detonators were wrapped around the body of JMB's bomb expert when he was found dead.

The mutilated bodies of his wife and two children were found lying on the ground floor. All the bodies were sent to the hospital around 5:30pm.

Panic gripped the neighbourhood after repeated blasts and shooting at Jannatul Shafi yesterday afternoon. Rab personnel evacuated the residents of the adjacent houses to safety.

"When I heard the first blast, I thought the entire area would be blown up as it rocked us all," said rickshawpuller Abul Kalam, who witnessed the operation.

The panicked neighbours expressed surprise when they learnt that JMB militants were

staying in the locality.

Locals and witnesses claimed to have heard several blasts in the house. The first bomb, went off around 2:15pm, blew up a window and a part of the boundary wall of the house.

The Rab claimed to have seized seven live bombs from the house and dismantled those at a nearby paddy field at 7:00 in the evening.

Experts said the bombs were highly powerful and could have caused huge casualties if exploded in a public place.

"The bombs had iron-coats and were long and round in shape," said a Rab bomb expert.

The house is owned by a Saudi Arabia expatriate, Mohammad Yunus. His wife Khairun Nahar, who lives on the first floor of the house, rented the house to the JMB militants.

She told newspersons two youths introducing themselves as Rajib and Shawon rented the ground-floor flat on January 1 at Tk 2,000 excluding the utility bills.

"The youths claimed to have been employees of a cellphone company in Tongibari in Gazipur," she said, adding, they paid Tk 1,000 in advance.

Expressing surprise after learning the identities of her tenants, she said they remained secluded from the neighbours. "The woman always kept herself veiled and did not get out of the house, but they had a lot of visitors.

"As a lot of people came to the house and used a good amount of water, I asked them to pay more for water. They however refused to pay more and said they would leave the house in April."

CLOCKWISE ... Rab men take away a JMB activist; Jannatul Shafi, the hideout, after bomb blasts; a member of Rab bomb squad recover a bomb from the spot. Photo: STAR/FOCUS BANGLA/TV GRAB.