Bangladesh arrests four members of Islamist militant group blamed for Dhaka cafe attack

DHAKA (REUTERS) - Bangladesh security forces on Wednesday (Feb 1) arrested four members of an Islamist militant group blamed for an attack on a cafe in Dhaka last year which killed 22 people, most of them foreigners.

The July attack in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter was claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) 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 few years.

The four arrested, 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 ISIS and which police believe was involved in organising the cafe attack.

"One of them was the IT head of the group," said Mufti Mahmud Khan, spokesman of the police-led Rapid Action Battalion, which is involved in counter-terrorism efforts.

The suspects were arrested in a raid on a house on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, he said, adding that firearms and a huge quality of explosives were found.

Police have killed around 50 suspected Islamists in raids since the cafe attack, including the man whom police said was the attack mastermind, Bangladesh-born Canadian citizen Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury.