3 suspected militants killed in Bangladesh; 2 forces hurt

A member of Rapid Action Battalion guards an alley during an operation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Officials say three suspected Muslim militants have been killed inside a building after security officials cordoned it off and opened fire in Bangladesh's capital. Officials say they recovered the bodies and explosives inside the Ruby Villa five-story building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AP Photo)
Members of Rapid Action Battalion guard a street during an operation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Officials say three suspected Muslim militants have been killed inside a building after security officials cordoned it off and opened fire in Bangladesh's capital. Officials say they recovered the bodies and explosives inside the Ruby Villa five-story building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AP Photo)
A member of Rapid Action Battalion guards during an operation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Officials say three suspected Muslim militants have been killed inside a building after security officials cordoned it off and opened fire in Bangladesh's capital. Officials say they recovered the bodies and explosives inside the Ruby Villa five-story building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AP Photo)
Members of Rapid Action Battalion guard an area during an operation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Officials say three suspected Muslim militants have been killed inside a building after security officials cordoned it off and opened fire in Bangladesh's capital. Officials say they recovered the bodies and explosives inside the Ruby Villa five-story building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AP Photo)
A member of Rapid Action Battalion inspects an apartment following an operation in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Jan 12, 2018. Officials say three suspected Muslim militants have been killed inside a building after security officials cordoned it off and opened fire in Bangladesh's capital. Officials say they recovered the bodies and explosives inside the Ruby Villa five-story building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (AP Photo)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Three suspected Islamist militants were killed inside a building after security forces cordoned it off and opened fire Friday in Bangladesh's capital, officials said.

The bodies and explosives were found inside the building near the office of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said Benazir Ahmed, head of the Rapid Action Battalion. The operation was carried out in Dhaka's Tejgaon area following information that some of the suspects were staying in a rented apartment.

Two members of the battalion were injured by grenades the suspects hurled from the building, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the battalion.

A bomb disposal team was searching the building.

Details of the suspects' identities were not clear immediately.

Bangladesh has been battling a rise of Islamic militancy for the last few years as the militants targeted liberals including atheist bloggers, foreigners and minority groups. In July 2016, five militants stormed a restaurant and killed 20 hostages including 17 foreigners in Dhaka's Gulshan diplomatic area. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack but the government rejected it, saying that they belonged to domestic group Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh.

Hasina's government says the militants' network has been weakened significantly after a security crackdown and the killings of more than 60 suspects including some top commanders since the restaurant attack.

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