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Ahab helped JMB build int'l links
Militant supremo Abdur Rahman established international links of his militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) with the help of Ahle Hadith Andolan, Bangladesh (Ahab) chief Asadullah al Galib, sources said. Evidence collected so far is so concrete that both Galib and Rahman must admit their links with two foreign militant trainers, Khaled and Javed, a reliable source told The Daily Star without elaborating. The trainer duo named Galib as their leader after they were arrested in Nepal in 1998, sources said.

The duo came to Bangladesh to train up Rohingya rebels in 1995 and stayed at Galib's Nawdapara den in Rajshahi. They were taken to a house in Arambagh in Dhaka on their way to Chittagong under Galib's supervision, sources said. The foreign militants first trained up Rohingyas and then local militants on Rahman's orders for four to six years. Sources said their primary target was to send the recruits to the Afghan war front as a backup force. The training ultimately focused on rearing militants inside the country following a decision by Galib and Rahman at a meeting at Sadrul Alam's house in Chittagong in 1998, investigators said. Galib's nephew Alam was trapped after the August 17 blasts last year.

Sources said Rahman went to Saudi Arabia for higher studies at Madina University on Galib's recommendation. Galib at a press conference before his arrest claimed he had no contacts with Rahman since his return from Madina. Galib at an Ahab conference in Rajshahi in 1997 introduced a number of guests from India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. The guests include Pakistani Nasser al Rahmani, an alleged leader of Saudi Hizbullah, who carries a bounty of $5 million declared by FBI for his link to al Qaeda. Galib also introduced Abdul Matin Salafi, Maolana Abdul Wahab Khiljee of Punjab, Ahle Hadith leader Abdullah Salafi of Murshidabad from India and Abdullah Abdut Tawat Al Madani from Nepal. Though Salafi was banished from Bangladesh in 1988, he took part in the Ahab meet in 1997. Investigators have found Galib had a joint bank account with him in 1989-90.

A leader of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) in 2004 told The Daily Star about 20 of their leaders and activists worked with al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Charges framed against Galib in Bogra blast case
A Bogra court yesterday framed charges against the Ahle Hadith Andolan, Bangladesh (Ahab) Ameer Asadullah Al Galib and three others in connection with the bomb blast at Laxmikola village on January 14 last year. The other accused in the case are Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Abdur Rahman, Shafiq Ullah of Narayanganj and Joynal Abedin of Gabtoli, Bogra. Police excluded previously accused Monowara, Joynal's wife, from the charge sheet. The court scheduled March 13 for the trial. Meanwhile, members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested four suspected militants at the court premises during the hearing and recovered some jihad related books.
The Bogra unit of Ahab arranged a rally yesterday at the district's Edward Park area and demanded release of Galib and other Ahab members claiming the organisation has no links with militancy.

Afghanistan/South Asia
Bangla cops quizzing 8/17 bomb suspects
Lot o' red meat in this article, if any of it is credible...
Investigators are trying to decipher a telephone conversation in Arabic mixed with Bangla tapped Saturday to check if there is any clue to the August 17 countrywide terror bombings that still remain a mystery. Meanwhile, quizzing of 14 arrestees at the Joint Interrogation Cell (JIC) in Dhaka continued for the second consecutive day yesterday, with six more brought in to join their ranks. Some of the new arrestees confessed to their involvement in the attack and also disclosed names of some people, who had trained them on how to operate the bombs before August 17, said a JIC source.
"We'll talk! And no, we don't want to go for a little stroll by the meat packing warehouse!"
"Although the bombs were handed over to us on August 17, some people showed us where the switches and batteries were and how to operate the bombs about three days before the attacks," the source quoted an arrestee as saying.
"Just some guys. They said their names were Mahmoud, Mahmoud, and Mahmoud."
Earlier, two detainees from Satkhira and one from Kushtia identified themselves to the cell as operatives of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and admitted to their participation in carrying out the bombings. Yesterday another Kushtia arrestee confessed the same.
"We dunnit, and we're glad!"
According to their confessions, the bombers were trained at a rented house at each of the district headquarters, said the investigator seeking anonymity. Primary investigations suggest three to four people were assigned to each district to distribute the bombs among the planters, he added. Law enforcers and intelligence agencies have already started searching for the rented training houses in the district towns based on the detainees' statements.
"Nope. No training center here. Nope. Nope. Not over there either. Now scram."
The investigator also said some of the arrestees identified themselves as members of either JMB or Ahle Hadith Andolan, Bangladesh (Ahab). Some of them also received training on armed combat in various places in the country. Sources said 20 people were being quizzed at the JIC until late last night.
Doesn't RAB usually work the late shift?
They do the field work; JIC does the 'skull sessions'.
Some of the detainees might be returned to their district today if the check clears investigators become sure they had no involvement in the bombings. They said fresh arrestees from across the country will be brought in and interrogated at the JIC and the process will be on.
"Hi Mahmoud, we're from the JIC and we're here to put on the 'process'."
On the telephone conversation, an intelligence source said they had wiretapped it Saturday, where "two men were talking in Arabic interspersed with Bangla, which seems pretty suspicious to us." The source did not give any further details about the phone call for the sake of investigation and said they are working to interpret the conversation to find whether it contains anything suspicious or any clue to the blasts. Intelligence agencies have been tapping phone calls since Wednesday's countrywide blasts. The source said, "Even if we don't get any clue from this conversation, we'll continue tapping phone calls."
I take the Bangla Civil Liberties Union isn't a real strong organization.
Meantime, State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar yesterday directed the law enforcement agencies to step up security measures across the country to avert any further bomb attacks. "The minister has instructed us to keep tight vigilance in the city," Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner SM Mizanur Rahman said.

The ministry in a letter signed by Joint Secretary (Political) Md Abdul Haq also directed the district-level officials to hold regular meetings on law and order situation.

Our Khulna correspondent reports: Law enforcers yesterday continued a manhunt for Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, a lecturer of Islamic studies at Paikgachha College, suspecting his involvement in Wednesday's bombings. Rafiqul, who hails from Ghorahati village of Satkhira, has been on the run since Wednesday's blasts.
Lecturer? I guess he's not going to be promoted to a tenure track anytime soon .com, that's an academic joke ...
Member of Ahab, he is a close relative of Ahab chief Asadullah Al Galib, detectives said. "We have evidence that he was involved in the planning of Wednesday's serial bomb blasts," said a Detective Branch official.

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