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Bangladesh arrests 31 suspected Islamic militants: police

world Updated: Apr 18, 2009 13:47 IST

AFP
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Police in Bangladesh have arrested 31 men suspected of plotting a terrorist attack, an officer said on Saturday. Police chief Masudul Haque Nuruzzaman, from Kushtia district 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of the capital Dhaka, told AFP the men were members of the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

"Among the 31 arrested was the group's chief of the Kushtia district who trained and fought in Afghanistan," said Nuruzzaman.

"The arrests were made on Friday during a raid on a meeting. We have intelligence to suggest they were preparing an attack."

Jihadi books, leaflets, gunpowder and bomb-making materials were seized during the meeting, he said. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a worldwide group which wants to combine all Muslim countries in a unitary Islamic state or "khilafat". The group is banned in some countries but not in Bangladesh.

Last month police raided an Islamic school, or madrassa, on the remote southern island of Bhola and seized a cache of weapons and explosive devices, as well as jihadi literature urging Muslims to take up arms.

The school is run by the British-based charity Green Crescent, which is owned by Briton Faisal Mostafa, who has since been arrested by Bangladeshi police.