|Bangladesh police say top Islamic extremist shot dead|
|[DAWN] Bangladesh police on Tuesday said they had killed the chief of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), an group accused of murdering secular activists and inspiring a cafe siege that killed 22 people.|
Khorshed Alam, described as the "emir" of Bangladesh's deadliest Islamist outfit, was early on Tuesday morning in the northern town of Shibganj, police Sonaton Chokraborty said.
"He died before we could bring him to hospital," Chokraborty told AFP of the 38-year-old .
Police say Alam emerged after JMB's old guard was weakened by the execution of its former commander Sheikh Abdur Rahman, and five other top chiefs, in March 2007.
He is accused of ing a number of attacks across -majority Bangladesh, including most recently the murder of atheist writer and publisher Shahzahan Bachchu in the central district of Munshiganj in June.
He also spearheaded a daring ambush on a prison van in 2014 that allowed two senior JMB foot soldiers to escape, police said.
In recent years, a splinter faction inspired by JMB's earlier leadership
Bangladesh police launched a massive crackdown on since the cafe siege, killing more than 80 suspected Islamists and arresting hundreds more.
|2 suspected JMB members arrested near New Delhi|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Two suspected members of outfit (JMB) were from Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida area.|
The duo- Bangladeshi nationals Musharraf aka Musa, and Rubel Ahmed- were arrested from the Surajpur area, on the outskirts of the New Delhi, during a joint operation by the state’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) and the West Bengal police, reports India Today quoting senior Indian law enforcement official Ajay Pal Sharma.
The report does not mention when the two suspected were arrested.
Musa and Rubel are being interrogated by officials of the UP ATS and intelligence department, Sharma said.
According to sources in Indian law enforcement, the two JMB members were planning to carry out a major attack in the National Capital Region (comprised of National Capital Territory of Delhi and several surrounding districts from the states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan).
A source in the Indian intelligence department had received a tip-off that some JMB members were collecting funds for their outfit.
When contacted, police's Anti Terrorism Unit (ATU) chief Additional Inspector General Mohammad Shafiqul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that they are yet to hear from Indian authorities regarding the matter.
The JMB, founded in 1998 by Sheikh Abdur Rahman, was banned in 2005 after setting off about 500 bombs simultaneously across Bangladesh.
|Is Pakistan supporting Bangladeshi Islamists?|
|[Dhaka Tribune] Bangladeshi authorities have seven suspected with links to an Islamist group. The move comes a day after Pakistain recalled its diplomat from Dhaka over her alleged links with the same banned outfit.|
The police raided an apartment in Mirpur, a district in the capital Dhaka, and arrested seven suspected members of the banned Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh (JMB) organization. They also seized 16 home-made bombs, s and , which the authorities said could be used in planned attacks over the New Year period.
The suspects bombs as police began their raid. No injuries were reported. Officials cordoned off the building and evacuated the residents.
Police officer Monirul Islam said at least three "important figures" of the JMB had been arrested.
The JMB was founded in 1998 by Sheikh Abdur Rahman, a religious preacher educated in . The group campaigns for the imposition of the Shariah Law in Bangladesh. Despite being banned by the government, the JMB members are trying to regroup and launch clandestine operations.
In 2007, Bangladeshi authorities executed six JMB leaders for killing two judges and ing a series of bombings across the country in 2005 that killed some 30 people. The organization has also been involved in targeting foreigners. On October 3, it a Japanese farmer in northern Bangladesh.
The Thursday raid followed information from a detained member of the Islamist group.
Terror link row
The raid comes just days after a suspected JMB member, Idris Sheikh, told a court in Dhaka that he had ties with a female Pak diplomat, whose name was quoted by local media as Farina Arshad. Shiekh told police detectives that he had received financial assistance from Arshad for his espionage trial.
The Pak mission in Dhaka dismissed the claims as "utterly baseless media reports... maligning a female diplomat stationed in Dhaka."
"Tut tut, my good man!"
On Wednesday, Pakistain recalled Arshad from the capital, according to a Bangladeshi official.
"The female second secretary of the high commission was sent back to Islamabad this afternoon, two days after Dhaka informally asked for her departure," the official at the Bangladeshi foreign ministry told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
Bangladesh's Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the government would take action against Arshad if the allegations against her were proven to be credible.
Islamization of Bangladesh
Relations between Bangladesh and Pakistain have been tense since 1971 when the former East Pakistain separated from the western wing after a long struggle for independence.
Islamabad has officially condemned Bangladeshi government's recent crackdown on Islamist groups linked with aiding former West Pakistain during the war of independence. It has always denied its role in the massacre during the war. No Pak government has formally apologized to Dhaka for the killings. Nationalist parties in Bangladesh, however, claim that the and its supporters killed around three million people during the war.
The 1971 war of independence continues to play an important role in Bangladeshi politics. Analyst Siegfried O. Wolf believes that those who were involved in the 1971 war crimes "are still threatening the country's peace and stability."
"They still maintain, or have established new links, with Pakistain-based terror groups as well as international jihadist organizations like ' ' (IS) and al Qaeda. There will be no peace in Bangladesh until these people and groups are brought to justice," Wolf told DW.
Bangladeshi government has also intensified its crack down on Islamist groups involved in killing secular bloggers, but Wolf thinks it is far from enough.
"Bangladesh has effectively been transformed into an Islamic state. As a result, Islamist parties have been able to assume a bigger role in the country's politics. The situation is ripe for an international terrorist group like IS to establish itself in Bangladesh. It will surely describe the executions as a 'crusade against Muslims.'"
|Militants escape from Bangladesh prison van in bomb ambush|
|[Pak Daily Times] Gunmen opened fire and tossed bombs on Sunday at a prison van carrying of a banned Islamist movement to a court house, freeing three of their colleagues and killing a policeman in the ambush, police and witnesses said.|
The three convicts sprung from their police escort were members of the group (JMB), including the group's explosives expert. Two had been sentenced to death.
The group was highly active around 2005, when it was involved in spate of bombings on judicial personnel, courts and other targets, but has been relatively quiet over the past 10 years.
Police Inspector General Hassan Mahmood Khandker said the incident showed the had not been rooted out entirely. "It is a clear indication that they are still active," he told s.
He said the attack was the first such ambush on a prison van. The had been on their way to a court in Mymenshing to testify in another trial, said Abdur Razzak, superintendent of Kashimpur jail, where all three had been held.
Militants blocked a highway in Mymenshing, 120 km (75 miles) north of Dhaka, with two cars and set off several bombs to halt the prison van, police said. One policeman and three .
About 20 masked men then jumped out from a microbus and opened fire on the van, Subedar Habib, who was injured in the attack, told s in hospital.
Police who mounted a manhunt and searched districts near the incident later detained one of the men. They also offered a reward of 200,000 taka ($2,560) for help in capturing them.
Border patrols had been put on alert to stop the men fleeing the country, junior law minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said.
Six leaders of the Islamist group were hanged after being convicted of killing two judges in 2005. Among them was JMB chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman, a veteran of conflicts in Afghanistan.
The group nearly 500 bombs almost simultaneously on Aug. 17, 2005, across Bangladesh, including the capital Dhaka, in attacks largely aimed at frightening authorities.
Its later carried out s on various courthouses, killing 25 people, including judges, lawyers and , and injuring hundreds.
|2 sentenced to death for blasts in Shariatpur|
|[Bangla Daily Star] A Shariatpur court yesterday sentenced two activists of the banned Islamist outfit to death for their involvement in the 2005 series s in the district.|
As part of its countrywide terror campaign, the JMB on August 17 that year simultaneously blasted several bombs at the office of Shariatpur deputy commissioner, court premises, in front of Dak Bungalow and in Palong Bazar area of the district.
That day, the Islamist outfit bombs in 63 districts out of 64.
The two to die for the Shariatpur blasts are Kamruzzaman alias Swapan, 27, and Malek Bepari alias Malek Zehadi, 28.
The duo was present when the judge of the District and Sessions Judge's Court Mohammad Sajedul Karim pronounced the verdict around 1:00pm, said Public Prosecutor Mirza Hazrat Ali.
Following the blasts, Shariatpur Sadar Police Station Sub-inspector Badruzzaman filed a case against some unidentified people.
Later, investigation officer of the case Kamal Hossain submitted the charge sheet accusing the two along with the then JMB chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman and its operations commander Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai.
The court accepted the charge sheet on January 2, 2006, and framed charges against them on January 18 the same year.
Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai were among the six executed in March 2007 for killing two Jhalakathi judges.
Their executions marked the end of country's first overt militancy campaign that rattled the nation through its 2005 coordinated blasts and s.
|Terror financed due to HSBC failure|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd and Social Islami Bank Ltd came into the spotlight yesterday for their alleged links to terrorist financing after a US Senate report exposed British banking giant HSBC's internal governance failure to control flows of suspect funds.|
One of the banks was allegedly funding al-Qaeda, and 's brother-in-law held shares in a company that has shares in the bank.
In all these cases, profit motive rather than cautions from various levels within the bank and standard procedures ruled the game.
More thoughts were given to the bank's making $47,000 in revenue that might go up to $75,000 a year later than to the terrorist links the banks allegedly had, or the US authorities' view of the banks.
A report of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, a congressional watchdog panel, has revealed these troubling information which show a "pervasively polluted" culture at HSBC Holdings Plc.
The bank acted as financier to clients seeking to route shadowy funds from the world's most dangerous and secretive corners, including Mexico, Iran, and Syria, according to the report.
The US report also mentioned that Al Rajhi Bank, a Saudi bank, was involved in suspicious transactions.
HSBC apologised to the US Senate, saying it takes "compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously".
In one instance, when Islami Bank wanted to open a US dollar account with the HSBC US office, questions were raised about the Saudi bank Al Rajhi's 37 percent ownership in Islami Bank. Ears of HSBC's anti-money laundering unit were cocked.
But the then head of HSBC Global Banknotes, Chris Lok, felt that his interest in considering a new account depended upon whether there was enough potential revenue to make.
"Is this an account worth chasing....How much money can you expect to make from this name? It's just that if the revenue is there then we are prepared for a good fight," he wrote. "The money is there and we should go for this account."
"Then Lok and others approved the account despite questions about its [Islami Bank] primary shareholder Al Rajhi Bank, whose past links to terrorist financing had received attention in the media ...and troubling information about Islami Bank itself," the senate report said.
HSBC's own Financial Intelligence Group (FIG) unit had reported that Sheikh Abdur Rahman, chief of Bangladesh's terrorist outfit JMB, had an account with Islami Bank. Bangladesh Bank found that two branches of Islami Bank had been engaged in "suspicious transactions" and urged the bank to take action against 20 bank employees for failing to report the suspicious transactions, according to the FIG report.
Six top including JMB chief Abdur Rahman and his deputy Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were executed for killing two Jhalakathi judges in 2007.
HSBC's Know Your Customer unit had reported that Islami Bank be classified as a highest risk client but HSBC rejected the suggestion. It meant HSBC did not subject the bank to any enhanced monitoring.
HSBC's another internal report said a Saudi NGO, International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO), had been implicated in terrorist financing by the US government and included on the list of those prohibited to do business in the US. The IIRO had accounts with both Islami Bank and Social Islami Bank, and yet HSBC's Compliance Department denied an internal request of due diligence on the bank.
"Today, although HSBC exited the US banknotes business in 2010, Islami Bank remains a customer of two dozen HSBC affiliates," the report said.
Similarly on Social Islami Bank, the HSBC's internal report said two shareholders of the bank -- the IIRO and Islamic Charitable Society Lajnat al-Birr Al Islam -- had alleged links to terrorism.
"IIRO has also reportedly funded al-Qaeda directly as well as several of its satellite groups. Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law Mohammad Jamal Halifa headed the Philippine branch of the IIRO," said the FIG's internal report.
While the FIG cautioned about opening an account of Social Islami Bank, it failed to inform HSBC that Lajnat al-Birr, whose original name is Benevolence International Foundation, was designated by the US as a "financier of terrorism" with whom US persons are prohibited from doing business.
There were debates within HSBC about whether to open an account of Social Islami Bank, and yet the account was finally opened.
The FIG of HSBC also cautioned the bank about keeping Social Islami Bank as a client, an advice ignored by the British bank.
According to the US report, HSBC Bank USA, the US affiliate of the Asia-focused bank, supplied US dollars to Islami Bank and Social Islami Bank despite evidence of their links to terrorist financing.
The report, prepared by a team led by Senator Carl Levin, said in the case of Islami Bank, the factors included substantial ownership of the bank by al Rajhi, the central bank's fines for failing to report suspicious transactions by s, and an account provided to a terrorist organization.
And in terms of Social Islami Bank, the factors included ownership stakes held by two terrorist organizations whose shares were exposed but never sold as promised, and a bank chairman found to be involved with criminal wrongdoing.
The report said Al Rajhi Bank was associated with Islami Bank Bangladesh that provided an account to a Bangladeshi who had been accused of involvement in a terrorist bombing.
Islami Bank was fined three times for violating the anti-money laundering requirements in connection with providing bank services to "militants."
Al Rajhi Bank provided a correspondent account to Social Islami Bank, whose largest single shareholder had been the IIRO for many years.
A second shareholder was the precursor to the Benevolence Islamic Foundation, also later designated by the US as a terrorist organization, said the report.
In a statement on Monday, HSBC said, "We will acknowledge that, in the past, we have sometimes failed to meet the standards that regulators and customers expect. We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong.
"We have learned a great deal working with the Subcommittee on this case history and also working with U.S. regulatory authorities, and recognise that our controls could and should have been stronger and more effective in order to spot and deal with unacceptable behaviour.
"We believe that this case history will provide important lessons for the whole industry in seeking to prevent illicit actors entering the global financial system."
The bank said with a new ship team and a new strategy in place since last year, the HSBC Group has already taken a number of concrete steps to augment the framework to address these issues including significant changes to strengthen compliance, risk management and culture.
|3 JMB men arrested|
| two leaders and a member of the banned (JMB) outfit from different parts of the capital on Monday.|
The elite force members also seized several JMB publications and leaflets from the possession of the arrestees, Major Walid Md Saifullah, deputy director of Rab's Media and Legal Wing, told The Daily Star.
The trio was identified as Mohammad Asaduzzaman alias Hazari, chief of JMB Khulna divisional unit, Md Wahab, head of JMB Savar zone and JMB member Anwar Hossain.
Asaduzzaman, a Majlish-e-Sura committee member of JMB, was from Sayedabad, Wahab, a gayeri ehsar (part-time) member was picked up from Gabtoli while Anwar was from Abdullahpur in Uttara, the Rab official said.
The arrestees were produced before a yesterday at Rab Headquarters of Uttara where Commander Mohammad Sohail, director of Rab's Media and Legal Wing said Wahab and Asaduzzaman were on information squeezed out of Anwar.
He said all three were s in the series cases of 2005.
There are a total five cases against Asaduzzaman with several s in Shatkhira. He is said to have led the August 17, 2005 s at Shatkhira and was reportedly assigned by Sheikh Abdur Rahman.
Wahab is an accused in two cases filed with s in Savar and Anwar is an accused in two cases.
Rab officials are interrogating the arrestees for more information.
Commander Sohail said they are trying to find out if any banned outfits like JMB are plotting any subversive activities ahead of BNP's March 12 political programme as try to take advantage of mass political events for such activities.
|[Bangla Daily Star] Law enforcers believe outlawed which came to the limelight for its synchronised bombing across the country six years ago, has almost no strength left to carry out any subversive activities.|
The network of the outfit has totally collapsed with the arrests of its members of all tiers in massive crackdowns and its strength has almost waned, say officials of police and .
They however add JMB still has its roots, but there is hardly any chance of rearing their heads since they are under strong vigilance.
The Islamist outfit grasped the spotlight as a hardcore organization blasting 459 time bombs in 63 districts on August 17, 2005 that left two persons killed and 50 others injured.
In subsequent attacks, they also killed a number of people including two judges in Jhalakathi, sending a chill through the nation.
JMB founding ameer Sheikh Abdur Rahman along with his second-in-command Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and four others was executed on March 30, 2007 in the judges killing case.
Since the attacks, 356 cases have been filed against around 800 JMB members and law enforcers have so far 656 of them. Of the cases, 142 cases were filed in connection with the August 17 blasts against 443 JMB leaders and operatives.
Among the 142 cases, the courts pronounced verdicts in 78 cases giving death sentence to 24 accused, life term imprisonment to 92 and imprisonment to 77 others on different terms. Besides, 171 of the accused were acquitted.
a High Court bench last month delivered a dissenting verdict in the Jhenidah blast case filed on August 17, 2005 in connection with the JMB bombing.
Two judges of the HC bench gave a split verdict. One judge acquitted all the 21 convicted by the trial court, saying charges brought against them were not found to be proved. On the other hand, the other judge acquitted seven accused and gave life imprisonment to the rest.
The HC bench delivered the split verdict after holding hearing on the death reference of the case and jail appeals filed by the accused against their conviction.
Law enforcers suspect Sohail Mahfuz is now the JMB's helmsman after the arrest of ex- chief Moulana Saidur Rahman in June last year in the city. Sohail is an arrogant person and is skilled in making powerful bombs including belt bombs.
"But he alone cannot do anything. To execute a plan, he needs a network in all tiers, but he does not have any," said Rab legal and media wing director Commander M Sohail.
The Rab director however said they are not dismissing any possibility and that is why they are always vigilant against JMB activities.
Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, intelligence wing director of Rab, told The Daily Star yesterday the banned outfit has again started some activities in some northern districts including Rajshahi, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon.
the activities are limited to recruitment of members and fund collection, he added.
|Bangla: Lashkar's explosives expert captured|
|[Bangla Daily Star] Yet another Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, this time an explosives expert, and his local aide were by Rab in the city's Uttara early yesterday with a huge amount of explosives and bomb making materials.|
He said the battalion had recovered 30 kilograms of high explosive with the capacity equivalent to trinitrotoluene (TNT) and six bottles of liquid chemical from their possession.
it couldn't be learnt whether the Pakistain-based outfit is plotting any bomb attack in Bangladesh or neighbouring country.
A joint team of Rab intelligence wing and Rab-1 made yesterday's arrests around 12:15am from Abdullahpur, Uttara after a tip-off from LeT man Maulana Mohammad Imran, another Pak on September 29 in Narayanganj.
Wazed Khan came to the country on April 7 this year with a tourist visa on orders from a top LeT leader, Abdul Kuddus alias Abdul Karim Tunda alias Babaji.
Sohail said, Abdul Kuddus alias Tunda, who is now detained in a Pak jail, visited Bangladesh and held meetings with JMB chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman, who was later executed.
During interrogation, Bakkar admitted he had bought the chemicals from Lalbagh, Old Dhaka.
In 2007 Bakkar got acquainted with Maulana Imran while Bakkar was residing at a rented house in Mirpur. The two became involved in the business of fake Indian currency.
Several Pak operatives of LeT are active in the country and they have made explosives. But their targets are yet to be known, said Sohail. The Pak operatives were not given the address of the other LeT teams for their safety. The law enforcers could not learn how many of them are now in Bangladesh.
Sohail said the LeT has no unit in the country. But it is trying to use the country as a haven for running business of fake currencies and making explosives.
Rab personnel also seized passports of the two detainees. The passport of Bakkar shows he made eight trips to Pakistain and three trips in India recently.
|Bangladesh's JMB effectively crushed|
|The Bangladesh guerrilla group (JMB), responsible for some 400 blasts nationwide on a single day in 2005, has been effectively crushed, officials say. |
This is from Iran Press TV. They seem to have just picked up on the fact. If they'd been reading Rantburg all along they'd have known it.
Authorities say since August 17, 2005, the government has cracked down on the Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) after they carried out serial blasts throughout the nation, on one single day killing 28 people and injuring scores of others. The security force launched the crackdown following criticism that Dhaka was turning a blind eye to growing extremism.
Turned out certain members of the government had been in cahoots with them, since they had the same Islamic goals...
According to Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, security head of Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion, the government is confident that this terrorist group can pose no more threats as at least 1,000 of its members have been arrested.
I'd guess 900 of them are dupes, pawns, cannon fodder, and innocent bystanders. The actual organization was pretty much a clan affair.
He added that they have successfully dealt with.
And there's the secret to dismantling a terror organization: Hang all the ones you don't shoot.
Over the last two years bomb attacks have become a rarity. The disintegration of JMB though not yet complete, has seen the group "very much under control", Khandaker said after a Bengali-language newspaper Prothom Alo warned the JMG was regrouping. The large-scale arrests of JMB guerrillas have blunted its influence. Rebel leader Sheikh Abdur Rahman and his deputy Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai are in state custody, while six senior rebels were executed last year after a court sentenced them to death for killing two judges, AFP quoted Khandaker as saying.
That's the first we've heard of Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai still being alive. Supposedly they had their necks stretched on March 29th of last year.
|4 JMB men get life|
|A Panchagarh court yesterday sentenced four activists of banned Islamist militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) to life imprisonment in a case filed in connection with the August 17, 2005 serial bomb blasts in Panchagarh.|
The Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Amulla Kumar Sarker handed down the verdict after examining records and witnesses depositions. The judge acquitted six accused in the case. The court also fined them Tk 10,000 each, in default to which they are to stay one more year in jail.
The convicts are Tanviruzzaman alias Murad, 21, Azizul Islam alias Majnu, 25, Hafizur Rahman, 25, and Abdul Matin alias Ismail, 25. Murad was awarded another life term imprisonment as the charge of conspiracy to kill judges, filed against him in the same case, was proved.
Since accused Abdul Awal, son-in-law of JMB chief Sheikh Abdur Rahman, was executed, the court framed charges against 10 people on June 30, 2007.
|Bangladesh 'militants' arrested|
|Security forces in Bangladesh say they have arrested the last two senior leaders of an Islamic militant group. The authorities say they now have all seven members of the ruling council of Jamaat-ul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). |
Last year at least 28 people, including four suicide bombers, were killed in attacks blamed on the organisation.
The BBC's correspondent in the capital Dhaka, Roland Buerk, said the two men were arrested within hours of each other in separate operations. Mohammed Salauddin was seized from a hideout near the city of Chittagong in the south east of the country. Khaled Saifullah was taken into custody after an all-night siege in Dhaka.
The JMB has been blamed for a series of bomb attacks last year. At several of the blast sites leaflets were found which called for the introduction of Islamic Sharia law. The government responded with a crackdown on suspected Islamic militants and at least 1,000 people have been taken into custody.
The JMB's alleged leader, Sheikh Abdur Rahman, and the man accused of being his deputy, Siddiqul Islam, known as Bangla Bhai, were arrested last month. They face trial in more than 100 cases in connection with the bombings.