DHAKA, Sept 25 2014

Bangladesh police said Thursday they have arrested two suspected Islamist militants whom they accused of planning to set up an Al-Qaeda branch in the Muslim-majority country.

Detectives raided several properties in the Bangladesh capital, arresting five militants, including two members of a little-known local hardline Islamist group, a Dhaka police spokesman said.

The two admitted during questioning to planning “to set up an Al-Qaeda network” in Bangladesh, spokesman Monirul Islam told reporters.

The arrests come after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced earlier this month plans to launch a South Asian branch of the militant network.

Asif Adnan, 24, and Fazle Elahi Tanzil, 26, were members of the local Ansarullah Bangla Team, blamed for the murder last year of a blogger who was critical of Islam.

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