Security forces, in an ongoing raid that began early on Wednesday, have cordoned off two houses in Bangladesh's Moulvibazar district where at least 10 suspected militants were believed to be holed up, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said.

Kamal told media that a SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team was on its way and the Army would also be called in, if required.

The security forces have surrounded two houses in Borohat and Khalilnagar areas of the district, which were believed to be used as militant hideouts, reported

Bursts of gunfire and explosions could be heard from the two houses, media reports said adding that militants were hurling grenades at the police at intervals.

The minister said that security forces had cordoned off the houses on the basis on intelligence inputs.

"They came under fire and faced grenades while trying to enter the houses, which have now been sealed off. SWAT and bomb disposal units are on their way, after which the next phase of the operation will begin," he said.

Kamal said: "There might be three-to-four terror suspects in the house in Moulavibazar town. The other house may have more than that.

"Reports suggest that there might be one or two female operatives. Bombs are being hurled from inside. An operation will start once the (SWAT and bomb disposal) unit reaches," he said.

Both the houses are owned by an expatriate Saifur Rahaman, currently living in Britain.

Local administration imposed prohibitory orders in several areas, including Borohat and Kutumbagh areas of Moulvibazar city, from 2 pm.

The prohibitory orders were also imposed in a 2-km radius of the Khalilpur union complex area, Moulvibazar Deputy Commissioner Tofail Ahmed told the Daily Star.

The police took the measure in these areas to avoid any untoward incident, said the report.

On Tuesday, army commandos ended an operation codenamed "Operation Twilight" at a house called Atia Mahal in Shibbari of Sylhet city and handed the crime scene over to the police.

Four militants, including a woman, were killed during the commando assault in Sylhet.