Dhaka, May 12: Bangladeshi police today arrested four militants, including a key leader, closely linked to two operatives of a banned outfit allegedly involved in carrying out blasts in India two years ago.
Elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the four militants form capital's Khilgaon and Fakirapul areas.
The militants belonged to Jamaatul Islam Mujaheedeen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned outfit which police say is behind a series of deadly attacks carried out on the country's secularists and liberals for the last three years.
"We have arrested four JMB operatives last night. One of them is the Dhaka district chief of the outfit," said RAB spokesman Mufty Mahmud Khan told PTI. Noting that the details of the arrest will be disclosed later, Khan said JMB's alleged Dhaka chief Abdul Baten alias Khairul Islam and three others were arrested in two separate raids at the capital's Khilgaon and Fakirapul areas.
"We suspect they were poised for a fresh terrorist attack," Khan said. Khan also said Baten was closely linked to fugitive JMB operatives Rahmatullah Masud Sajid and Mohammad Naim, the two suspects of blasts in West Bengal's Burdwan district two years ago.
On October 2, 2014 two suspected JMB operatives were killed and another injured in an explosion at a house in Kolkata's Burdwan area, just over the border with Bangladesh.
Security forces of both the countries arrested several suspects after the blast as an Indo-Bangla joint drive was launched on the borders to capture over 100 JMB men.
RAB's claim has come after inspector general of police Shahidul Haque last week accused homegrown JMB of carrying out most of the recent clandestine attacks using machetes.
"Out of 37 such murders since 2013 in the country, 25 were carried out by JMB," Haque had said last week as the main law enforcement agency was criticised for its failure to track down the killers.
Bangladesh has repeatedly ruled out existence of foreign Islamists outfits like IS and has alleged that fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami was patronising the killing spree to portray the country as an abode of foreign militants.
JMB has carried out a series of bomb attacks across Bangladesh, killing scores of people including two judges, prompting a massive anti-militant campaign.