Banned militant outfits that joined forces to form a new platform “Bangladesh Jihadi Group” are planning to raise fund for the group through bank heists in and outside the capital.
Detectives made the revelation yesterday at a press briefing at Dhaka Metropolitan Police media centre following arrests of nine suspected members of outlawed Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT).
They were arrested in the capital's Banashree and Shutrapur areas on Sunday, DMP Joint Commissioner (crime) Krishna Pada Roy told the press briefing.
Sanwar Hossain, additional deputy commissioner (south), told The Daily Star that six of the arrestees, who were nabbed from the garage of a Banashree apartment, were planning to rob a bank in the adjacent area. Three others were arrested in Shutrapur that evening.
The group had a plan to rob a bank in Dinajpur as well, Sanwar added.
Detectives had learned during primary interrogation that most of the detainees were members of the Huji, Krihsna Pada claimed.
As both the outfits were banned in the country, they continued militant activities under an umbrella platform, he said.
Following arrests of four Huji men in October last year, detectives claimed that other banned outfits such as Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Hizbullah, Allahar Dal and Hizb-ut-Tahrir were also members of the umbrella organisation.
With Ansarullah Bangla Team in the group, detectives claimed at least six banned militant outfits were trying to form a larger and stronger group with plans to launch attacks in major cities and on eminent personalities.
They were planning to establish the jihadi group in the form of ISIS, Krishna Pada said at the press briefing.
He further said they seized some documents that provide support for the jihadi group from the arrestees' possession.
A joint team of Detective Branch of police, Counter Terrorism and Trans-national Crime Unit and Special Branch of police conducted separate raids at Banashree and Shutrapur and arrested the nine.
Acting on a tip-off, the team arrested Kazi Iftekhar Khaled alias Khaled alias Ifti, 28, Fahad bin Nurullah Kashemi alias Fahad alias Kayes, 20, Mohammad Rahat, 21, Din Islam, 25, Ariful Karim Chowdhury alias Adnan, 33, and Nurul Islam, 29, from a garage at Banashree around 3:05pm, said Krishna Pada.
They also recovered around five kilograms of explosives, four machetes, 14 different types of bombs, several jihadi books and a flag of the jihadi group from the first floor of the building.
It was Ifti's flat that the group had been using for bomb-making, said ADC Sanwar, adding that Rahat, Fahad and Ifti are experts in making bombs.
Later around 7:30 that evening, the same team detained Mawlana Nurullah Kashemi, 58, Delwar Hossain, 55, and Yasin Arafat, 28, from Delwar's house on Lalmohan Das Lane at Shutrapur.
Kashemi is a spiritual leader while Delwar is a local businessman.
Three cases were filed with Khilgaon police and another with Sutrapur police against the arrestees.
'ISIS MEMBER' ARRESTED
Detectives arrested Fida Muntasir Al Shaker, a suspected ISIS member, in the capital's Banani DOHS area on Sunday night.
With Shaker, police and detectives arrested at least 16 suspected IS operatives in Bangladesh.
A team of DB (south) also seized a CPU, three laptops, three mobile phones, two hard disks, one passport, 21 different types of books, three leaflets and a notebook from his possession and found screenshots of Facebook friend list and cover pages of different ISIS-related e-books in his e-mail.
During primary quizzing, Muntasir said he recruited activists through internet and later trained them at his home.
He and nine others were paraded before the media during the press briefing.
On May 30, detectives arrested Abdullah Al Galib, a suspected “assistant coordinator” of the terror outfit in Bangladesh.
Son of an ex-army official, the 27-year-old detainee also launched a new militant organisation called “Jund At-Tawheed Wal Khilafah”, detectives said.
Meanwhile, two Dhaka courts yesterday placed six detainees on a seven-day remand each and three on a six-day remand each, court sources said.