"The detective branch of police and Rapid Action Battalion (elite crime-fighting unit) raided two houses in (Dhaka) Thursday and found (enough) explosives and detonators (for) 470 bombs," deputy commissioner of detective police Shahidul Islam said on Friday.

 

Six activists of the movement were arrested during the raids, which took place after police received a tip-off, Islam said.

 

Some 434 small bombs exploded in all but one of the country's main towns and cities on 17 August, killing three people and injuring over 100.

 

"The detonators and explosives are similar to those used in August 17 bomb blasts. Besides, we also found huge number of books calling for (Islamic) holy war and CDs containing military training," he said.

 

Leaflets found

 

Leaflets bearing Jamayetul Mujahideen's name and calling for the introduction of Islamic law were found at the blast sites.

 

Rapid Action Battalion additional director-general Colonel Mahabuddin Ahmed Molla said that during the raid they had seized 700 electrical components, some arms, bomb-making manuals and masks.

 

Khaleda Zia wants to introduce
new laws to curb terrorism

"It's a major success for us and we hope we can arrest the whole network very soon," Molla said.

 

One of the homes raided was that of Maolana Ataur Rahman, brother of Shaikh Abdur Rahman, the leader of Jamayetul Mujahideen, who is still being hunted by police for the 17 August bombings.

 

Police have arrested more than 200 people in connection with the blasts but Rahman has eluded them.

   

Police are also looking for Siddiqul Islam, also known as Bangla Bhai, the leader of the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh, alleged sister organisation of Jamayetul Mujahideen.

 

Both groups, which want secular Bangladesh to adopt Islamic law, were outlawed in February after being linked to a wave of bombings at Muslim shrines, musical events and other targets.

 

Anti-terrorism laws

 

In a related development, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia told the national parliament on Thursday evening that the government was reviewing existing security laws and mulling new ones against terrorism.

 

"I propose the enactment of a stringent law against bombing attacks and the production and storage of bombs and accessories," she said.

 

Zia cited the example of countries such as the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Spain which had enacted new laws to curb terrorism after the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US, according to official BSS news agency.