Bangladesh arrests two Islamists blamed for cafe attack

Dhaka, Dhaka Division, BangladeshUpdated: Dec 20, 2016, 11:26 AM IST

The Holey Artisan bakery that was in the middle of terrorist attack Photograph:(Reuters)

Bangladesh security forces on Tuesday arrested two members of an Islamist militant group blamed for a deadly attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July in which 22 people were killed, most of them foreigners.

The July 1 attack in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter was claimed by the Islamic State and was the worst militant attack in Bangladesh, which has been hit by a spate of killings of liberals and members of religious minorities in the past year.

The two suspects, aged 21 and 28, were members of a faction of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militant group, known as New JMB, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, and which police believe was involved in organising the cafe attack.

“We have recovered money, jihadi books, leaflets and sharp weapons,” Lutful Kabir, a senior official with the police-led Rapid Action Battalion, which is involved in counter-terrorism efforts, told a news conference.

The five gunmen who attacked the cafe were all killed.

Police have killed at least 42 suspected Islamists in raids since then, including the man police said was the attack mastermind, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.