01/20/2015, 00.00
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Dhaka, Islamic State extremists arrested. Authorities on high alert

by Sumon Corraya
Four members of the terrorist group arrested, including the alleged "IS coordinator" in the country. Tension and concern over the "very concrete" possibility of an attack "to expand the influence of transnational movement."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Police in Bangladesh have announced the arrest of four terrorists belonging to the Islamic state (IS), a terrorist organization that has taken control of a part of Syria and Iraq. Police have released the names of those arrested: Sakhawatul Kabir, the alleged coordinator of the Bangladeshi cell of the terrorist group; Anwar Hossain, already involved in an attack in the past years; Rabiul Islam, an IT specialist; Nazrul Alam, in charge of finances. Kabir is reported to have confessed to being the leader of the group.

During the raid, police seized "a massive load" of extremist leaflets; three laptops, now being studied by investigators; two desktop computers; eight mobile phones; a passport and a form to apply for a visa in Pakistan. Kabir said that his team "was working" to gather money and weapons in view of a massive attack "against symbolic personalities and places in Bangladesh." Their purpose "is to establish an Islamic State in the country".

The coordinator of the terrorist group, say the investigators, "has been in Pakistan a long time. Here he received military training and operated under the mantle of al Qaeda along with three Bangladeshis killed in a gunfight with police in Karachi on 9 January 2015". The country's authorities announced that they had ordered put police and security on "high alert", while the tension and fear is mounting. According to members of national intelligence the possibility of an attack "is very concrete, given that the Islamic State is seeking to broaden its range of transnational influence".

An AsiaNews source, anonymous for security reasons, confirms this climate: "All movement has to be limited to the minimum necessary and people are being advised against going to unknown destinations". Abul Hossain, a young Muslim, says: "People are scared, and want the government to intervene to avoid any form of armed militancy in Bangladesh. Religion must be used for love, not for bloody violence like the Islamic State ".

In Bangladesh, Islam is the state religion, practiced by more than 89.5% of the population. Catholics are only 0.1%. The Constitution does not recognize Shari'a (Islamic law) and guarantees full religious freedom, but conversions to a different religion are often opposed.


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