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Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested a militant who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the case filed over 21 August grenade attack at Awami League rally.

RAB director general Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun said this at a press briefing on Tuesday.

The arrested convict is Md Iqbal Hossain alias Iqbal alias Jahangir alias Selim.

RAB DG said Iqbal, at a primary questioning, revealed that he hurled grenade towards the stage of the rally at the behest of Mufti Hannan.

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The elite force arrested Iqbal from the capital’s Diabari area around 3:00 at the night on Monday. The RAB DG said they are yet to interrogate Iqbal fully. Iqbal fled to Malaysia in 2008 and was deported to Dhaka after being caught as an illegal immigrant last year. He was arrested because of a joint effort of National Security Intelligence (NSI) and RAB.

Iqbal, hailing from Jhenaidah, said he has passed higher secondary exams. He was involved with BNP's student wing, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) during student life. In 1994, Iqbal was elected class representative from JCD panel in Jhenaidah’s KC College student union election. He went to Malaysia in 1995 and stayed there until 1998. Upon return, Iqbal got engaged with different businesses. Later, he grew enmity with local influential people and Sarbahara men.

RAB DG also said Iqbal told them that he joined Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B) in 2001. He came in touch with Mufti Hannan in 2003 and started militant training. He had relations with Hannan and several other top leaders of HuJI-B. He took part in 21 August grenade attack at Hannan’s direction.

RAB said Iqbal had spent time in Jhenaidah, Gazipur and Savar in guise of security guard, labour and rickshaw puller before fleeing the country in 2008.

RAB DG said the court delivered verdict in the case on 10 October 2018. So far 15 people were arrested in connection with the grenade attack case.

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Asked how a convicted could leave the country, RAB DG Abdullah Al Mamun said the passports were handwritten at the time when Iqbal left the country. He also changed his name at least twice.

In 21 August 2004, a grisly attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally of then opposition party Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue.

Then opposition leader and current prime minister Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the attack but at least 24 leaders and activists, including AL women affairs secretary and late president Zillur Rahman’s wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and 300 others injured.

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