5 Suspected Of Plotting New Year Attack In Bangladesh, Arrested

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Dhaka: Police in Bangladesh have arrested five suspected terrorists believed to be plotting to attack New Year celebrations, a counter-terrorism police chief said on Wednesday.

The five were believed to be members of a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) group, which was blamed for an attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July in which 22 people were killed.

“They planned to attack on New Year’s Eve,” Monirul Islam, head of the counter-terrorism police unit, told a news conference.

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Mr Islam declined to elaborate when asked about the terrorists’ target and how they planned to attack but said police had also seized 60 kg of explosives, when the five were detained in overnight raids in the capital.

The five were paraded before the media but did not speak to reporters.

Authorities have already banned all outdoor gatherings in Dhaka from dusk on December 31 to dawn on January 1 on security grounds.

Terror attacks have increased in Bangladesh, a country of 160 million people, over the past few years with several prominent liberal writers and members of religious minorities killed.

The JMB has pledged allegiance to ISIS, which police believe was involved in organising the attack on the cafe in Dhaka’s diplomatic quarter on July 1.

ISIS claimed responsibility for what was the worst terror attack in Bangladesh.

Police have killed more than 40 suspected terrorists in raids since the cafe attack, including the man police said was the mastermind, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.