Dhaka: Jamaat-e-Islami linked radical Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team`s operations chief Didar Hossain has fled to Pakistan following massive crackdown on the newly formed outfit, Bangladesh police said Sunday.
Hossain fled to Pakistan while nine members of his group were arrested in an overnight raid, they said.
"We arrested them raiding their hideouts at different parts of the capital city throughout last night," a police spokesman told reporters here.
He said during the initial interrogations the arrested men disclosed that Hossain fled to Pakistan. Earlier this month, the group`s founder 43-year-old Mufti Jasim Uddin Rahmani was arrested along with dozens of his followers.
The official said the detained operatives - one being a madrassa student and others in different private jobs - admitted that they were closely following al-Qaeda in running their own organisation in Bangladesh.
Joint Commissioner of Dhaka Police Monirul Islam earlier said they gathered evidence that Bangladeshi youth Nafis, who was recently sentenced to 30 years in the US for planning to bomb the Central Reserve, had links with Ansurallah.
After years of massive security clampdown, officials said terrorists in Bangladesh were now in a weakened state but they fear militant threats visibly gripped the country in the wake of inputs that little known Ansarullah Bangla Team planned to kill a number of high-profile people as "enemies of Islam".
Police said they seized documents which suggested the newly surfaced group targeted at least two ministers.
They said the group earlier instigated the killing of blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider on February 15, launching a hatred campaign through its websites, blogs and publications, which have been now blocked by the authorities.
Investigators revealed that Rahmani and his followers used to share their views on a website named after the group having its hosting server in Pakistan while they also ran a web-based community radio.
Police said Rahmani formed the group five years ago after being inspired by al-Qaeda`s US-born ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a CIA drone attack in Yemen.
The Daily Star newspaper quoting unidentified security sources said the group has links with other Bangladeshi militant outfits including banned Islamist militant groups like Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al Islami and Jama`atul Mujahideen.