Bangladesh arrest spiritual leader of militant group

Police in Bangladesh's capital say they have arrested the spiritual leader of a banned militant group that is responsible for a series of attacks in the South Asian country.

Counterterrorism official Monirul Islam on Friday identified the suspect as Maulana Abul Kashem. He was arrested Thursday night.

Islam said he was a teacher at an Islamic school in northern Bangladesh and was acting as chief of a faction of the Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, or JMB.

Police say Kashem played a key role in a July 2016 attack in which 17 foreigners were killed when five militants stormed a restaurant in Dhaka's diplomatic zone. Kashem was allegedly connected with Tamim Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-born Canadian who was killed in August. Police said Chowdhury was the main planner of the group.