Bangladesh's most wanted Islamic militant has surrendered to police after a 30-hour siege in the northeastern city of Sylhet.
Shaikh Abdul Rahman, the leader of the banned Jamayetul Mujahedin Bangladesh group, gave himself up early Thursday along with two of his associates. They were taken to Dhaka for interrogation.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia called Rahman's arrest a significant development in fighting extremism. She thanked international counterterrorism agencies for assisting local forces in capturing the fugitive.
In Washington, the State Department applauded the arrest. It said Rahman's capture is an important step in confronting extremism in Bangladesh, as well as a sign that U.S.-Bangladeshi counterterror cooperation is working.
The group is blamed for more than 25 deaths in more than 400 bomb blasts across the country last year. The group wants Muslim-dominated but secular Bangladesh to impose strict Islamic law.
During today's arrest, police also found homemade bombs, explosives and detonators in Rahman's house. Raids on other houses in the area yielded more weapons and explosives.