DHAKA  - Bangladesh police said Monday they had arrested four suspected members of the Islamic State group including a ‘local coordinator’ who was planning to establish a self-declared ‘caliphate’ in the country.
The suspected coordinator Mohammad Sakhawatul Kabir and three others were detained in the capital following raids on Sunday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
During interviews, Kabir admitted the four were planning to collect funds and weapons from sympathisers, and the aim "was to attack important offices of the government and establish a caliphate" or Islamic govt in Bangladesh, police said. "Kabir has been working as the Bangladesh representative and coordinator of the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria)," it said, adding that he was trained in Pakistan.
Police did not say whether the four had travelled to or fought in Syria or Iraq where the IS group has captured territory. It was also unclear whether the four, as well as others in South Asia organising under the IS name, were acting on their own or with support from the extremist group in the Middle East.  The arrests came as Bangladesh has been hit by weeks of violent anti-government protests organised by the country's main opposition parties that include several Islamist outfits.
At least 27 people have been killed in the latest unrest that began after opposition leader Khaleda Zia was confined in her office by police in Dhaka on January 3. She was allowed to leave Monday.
Pakistani on 'fake passport' sparks easyJet alarm in Rome: Italian authorities on Monday released a Pakistani man who was removed from an easyJet flight to Britain minutes before take-off after it was discovered he was travelling on a fake passport.
The man, who is awaiting a decision on his request for political asylum in Italy, will be charged with possession of false papers but police do not believe he was linked to any plot, as initially feared.
"We have now confirmed with the authorities that this incident does not relate to any attempted terrorism," an easyJet spokesman told AFP. "It was just one of the many attempts that are made to get into the UK with false passports."
The flight from Rome's Fiumicino airport to London-Luton was within minutes of its scheduled take-off on Sunday when Italian border agents boarded the plane and removed the man.
The officers were acting on advice from the UK border agency, which spotted discrepancies between the passport details the 33-year-old passenger had entered in his online booking and information they held in their database.
After all bags were removed from the hold and rechecked, the plane took off later Sunday. EasyJet said there had been 124 passengers and six crew members on board when the suspect was removed. The scare occurred on the same day that Italy announced a Pakistani was among nine foreigners expelled from the country since December because of suspicions they could be involved in attacks. The others expelled were five Tunisians, an Egyptian, a Moroccan and a Turk.