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Weapons haul at Bangladesh school

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Police in Bangladesh have discovered a large arms cache including weapons and bomb making equipment during a raid on an Islamic school, police say.

They say that the raid was carried out by the elite anti-crime force, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), in the southern coastal district of Bhola.

RAB members found about 12 guns and several thousand bullets, police say.

Islamic hardliners are suspected by the government of a role in a mutiny last month that killed 74 people.

'Jihad booklets'

Police in Bhola say a leading member of the Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) extremist group was arrested in the raid.

The JMB carried out a series of bombings across the country in 2005 and is blamed by some in the government for last month's mutiny by border guards in Dhaka.

Police say that bomb making equipment was found in the Islamic school - or madrassa - in addition to booklets on "jihad" or holy war.

Police say they are continuing to search the premises of the school, which correspondents say has a number of blind pupils.

A RAB spokesman, Mamunur Rashid, said that the school was opened a few months ago in a remote area of Bhola about 100km (60 miles) south of the capital, Dhaka.

Bangladesh has in recent years been hit by a number of bomb attacks at political rallies, in courts and at cultural venues.

The attacks have mostly been blamed on JMB and other radical groups who are accused of wanting to establish strict Islamic law in a traditionally secular - but overwhelmingly Muslim - country.

Last week Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that the authorities would examine the activities and sources of funding of some Islamic charities approved by the previous alliance government - which contained two Islamic parties.



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