Seven members of the banned Islamist group, Jamaa'tul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), including its acting chief Abdullah Al Tasnim alias Nahid, were arrested from Dhaka's Turag area with a huge cache of explosives, police said at a press conference on Friday.
Detective Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police made the arrests on Thursday night from the Ashlulia Landing Station Parking area.
The detained JMB activists also confirmed that they have contacts with Islamic State (IS) militants, Monirul Islam, Joint Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told this at a press conference held at the DMP media centre on Friday morning.
The other detainees are identified as Naeem Ali, 29, Sikandar Ali alias Noki, 25, Mahmud Ibne Pasha, 23, Masum Billah, 23, Fuad Hasan, 18, and Ali Ahmed, 28.
Two cases were lodged on Friday against them with Turag Police Station under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The detainees revealed that a group of the militant outfit was planning to participate in the unrest in Iraq and Syria to draw the attention of the IS to get support from them.
They were also planning to carry out attacks in different areas and important establishments in the country as well as on several distinguished personalities, Monirul said.
Acting on a tip-off, the DB police carried out raids in different parts of Turag and detained Tasnim and his associates from Landing Station Port area when they were supposedly planning to organise massive mayhem there, the police official said.
The members of DB police also recovered 10 kg of chemicals used for manufacturing explosives, four brass idols, JMB pamphlets and other books.
During primary questioning, the detainees have confessed that they had been plotting to carry out attacks in different important places and establishments, Monirul added.
"We have information that they were planning a large-scale destabilization in the country."
"The JMB members were plotting attacks on important persons and selected establishments," the DB official said.
The newly-appointed ameer of the militant outfit, Tasnim, was trying to recruit members from several private universities in Dhaka and revive the organisational activities of JMB.
"They were also hatching plots to launch attacks on the motorcades of several very important persons (VIPs) of the country to garner support from the IS," Monirul said without identifying the persons.
"Noki and Pasha are highly skilled in technology. They were trying to communicate with the IS militants. And as far as we know, they had some success."
"Some of their men managed new passports and were planning to travel to Iraq and Syria to take part in the ongoing unrest there to draw the attention of the Islamic State."
"They were trying to set up training camps in Bandarban to expand their organisational network and boost their activities."
Fugitive JMB leaders in the likes of Sohel Mahfuz, alias Kata Sohel, who is now hiding in India and several other top leaders are aiding Tasnim, Monirul said.
"JMB's former ameer, now in jail, and Saidur Rahman's daughter and son-in-law living in Pakistan are also helping Tasnim," he added.
Meanwhile, Tasnim is the brother of Abdul Al Sohel, a death row convict in the Gazipur court bombing case. Tasnim was accused of at least 20 criminal charges including murder and possessing explosive.