‘Furkan planned drone bombings’
His plan was to make drones and carry out attacks after attaching explosives with them.
As head of the military wing of the IS-inspired militant outfit Neo JMB, Jahid Hasan alias Ismail Hasan Furkan tried to make drones watching online instructional videos.
He was also training the outfit's members to make remote-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs) through secret online apps.
It was under Furkan's direction and training that Neo JMB's operation wing members were able to make IEDs and attack police outposts in Dhaka and Narayanganj.
Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit members said they arrested the Neo JMB operative from the capital's Kafrul area on Tuesday.
"We were looking for Furkan for the last four years and finally were able to arrest him," Rahmat Ullah Chowdhury, in-charge of the CTTC bomb disposal unit, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He was lured into extremism by contents on a social media account in 2016, and then joined the Neo JMB under the guidance of the outfit's then chief Musa.
As a chemistry student of Jahangirnagar University (JU), Furkan quickly became an expert in making IEDs after joining the outfit.
A number of top Neo JMB leaders have been killed in law enforcement's continued anti-militancy drives since 2016, which had caused Furkan to go into hiding to avoid arrest.
But recently, under the leadership of the outfit's current chief Mahadi Hasan Jon, Furkan has started providing training to make remote-controlled IEDs and grenades.
The CTTC have also arrested two other Neo JMB members and associates of Furkan on Sunday -- Saiful Islam Maruf alias Basira and Rumman Hasan Fahad alias Abdullah.
Explosive materials, three cell phones, a tab and remote-controlled devices were also recovered from the arrestees' possession.
Md Asaduzzaman, CTTC chief, disclosed the arrest while addressing a briefing at the media centre of Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday.
He said in the last few years, Neo JMB tried to conduct IED attacks on 10 to 12 police outposts.
"The IEDs were of the same pattern. Those who make the bombs have been arrested in various raids, but new ones have been found," he said.
Furkan used to provide the training to make IEDs, according to CTTC officials.
"When any member of Neo JMB contacted Furkan about making IEDs, he [Furkan] would open a new social media account to make video calls and train the member. Once the training was complete, Furkan closed the account and changed locations to remain traceless," said a senior official of the counterterrorism unit, requesting anonymity.
CTTC chief Asaduzzaman said Furkan was a meritorious student but he was not able to complete his Masters as he left home to join Neo JMB.
Asaduzzaman said another arrestee, Saiful Islam, was a skilled IED maker and received online training from Furkan.
In primary interrogation, Saiful admitted that he had been involved in several IED attacks, he said.
As per the outfit's decision, both Saiful and Rumman migrated to Bandarban to receive military training.
They rented a house in Tongi recently and committed robbery there to generate funds for the outfit, said the CTTC chief.
A case was filed with Kafrul Police Station in this regard.
MEETING WITH SOME ROHINGYAS
According to CTTC sources, Furkan tried to go to Rakhine state in Myanmar five times since 2017, but failed.
"Furkan even managed to invite some Rohingyas to join Neo JMB and asked them to open a branch of the outfit in Rakhine," said a senior CTTC official, requesting anonymity.
CTTC chief Asaduzzaman said Furkan had held multiple meetings in Rohingya camps with the aim of expanding the organisation's activities.
4 ANSAR AL ISLAM MEMBERS ARRESTED
Members of police's Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) said they arrested four members of the banned militant group Ansarullah Bangla Team, also known as Ansar al Islam, from Dhaka's Rayerbagh area early yesterday.
The arrestees are: Raihan Hossain, Tanvir Hossain, Aminul Islam and Sagar Islam.
A team of ATU arrested them during a drive around 4:00am along with four mobile phones, two knives and some extremist literature, said Aslam Khan, special superintendent (media and awareness) of ATU.
They were active on social media, disseminating extremist contents and trying to recruit new operatives for the militant group. They used to communicate with each other through end-to-end encrypted apps, he said.
A case was filed with Kadamtali Police Station in this regard.