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Bangladesh arrests suspected ISIS activist

Dhaka: A suspected fundamentalist Jamaat-e- Islami activist has been arrested for issuing death threats on internet to several civil society figures identifying himself as an Islamic State operator, police said on Wednesday.

“We detained him from (Dhaka’s) Tejgaon area last night after tracking him down as one who has been issuing the death threats on the internet for the past several months in the name of IS (but) we believe he is actually linked to Jamaat,” a police spokesman told PTI.

The spokesman said that the suspect’s actual name was Nahid Hossain and he identified himself as Jihadi John, copying the name of slain British born ISIS militant Jihadi John, whose real name was Mohammed Emwazi.

“We believe sometimes this Nahid described him as an operative of IS and sometimes the Ansarullah Bangla TEAM…,” he said.

The development came a day after a court here indicted four suspected ISIS operatives on charges of hatching plots to topple Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government.

Those indicted under the Anti Terrorism Act are ISIS “coordinator” Shakhawatul Kabir, and three suspected members Anowar Hossain Baten, Rabiul Islam and Nazrul Islam.

Bangladesh has repeatedly denied presence of the Middle East terror group in the country. But ISIS in a recent online post said it has appointed a “regional leader” in Bengal.

According media reports, since September last year, Bangladesh arrested some 15 suspects for “having contacts or trying to establish contacts” with the ISIS.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday reiterated the government’s stance, saying “there’s no organisational presence of something like the IS in Bangladesh”.

“Those who claim to be IS are all ‘fruits of the same tree’ namely Jamaat, Ansarullah Bangla TEAM and JMB,” he added.