Spiritual leader of Bangladesh militant group arrested
The spiritual leader of a banned militant group that is responsible for a series of attacks in Bangladesh has been arrested, police in the capital Dhaka said.
Counter-terrorism official Monirul Islam identified the suspect as Maulana Abul Kashem, who was arrested on Thursday night.
Kashem was a teacher at an Islamic school in northern Bangladesh and was acting as chief of a faction of the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB), Mr Islam said.
Police say Kashem played a key role in a July 2016 attack in which 17 foreigners were killed when five militants stormed a restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic zone.
Kashem was allegedly connected with Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian who was killed in August.
Chowdhury was the main planner of the group, police said.
Some 40 suspects have been killed since July in a crackdown on militants ordered by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the July attack, but the government blamed the JMB.
Dozens of atheists, liberal writers, bloggers and publishers as well as members of minority communities and foreigners have been targeted by militants.