Singapore says it has arrested and deported 26 Bangladeshi construction workers for forming a religious study group that spread the ideology of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

The Home Ministry said Wednesday the workers were arrested in November and detained without trial under the city-state's rigorous Internal Security Act.

It says they held discreet weekly meetings to share jihadi-related materials and discuss armed conflicts involving Muslims. It also says its members supported the teachings of U.S.-born radical Islamic cleric Imam Anwar al-Awlaki.

The ministry says that they were not planning attacks in Singapore, but that an investigation showed that several of them had considered carrying out attacks overseas.