NEW DELHI--A former associate professor at one of Japan's leading private universities has been detained in Iraq on suspicion of recruiting terrorists, according to media reports out of Bangladesh.

Mohammad Saifullah Ozaki was wanted in connection with a 2016 hostage incident in Dhaka that left 22 people dead when terrorists stormed a restaurant. Seven of the fatalities were Japanese.

Ozaki, who held a position at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, vanished in 2015 along with his Japanese wife and their children. The family is believed to have flown from Japan to Bulgaria before eventually reaching Syria.

There were also reports that Ozaki was hiding out in Southeast Asia.

After the 2016 terrorist incident, Bangladeshi law enforcement authorities placed Ozaki on their wanted list as he was suspected of recruiting Bangladeshis to join radical terrorist groups in Syria.

According to newspaper reports in Bangladesh, Ozaki surrendered in March to a combined anti-terrorism team made up of Bangladeshi and Kurdish officers. He was found in Baghouz, a village in eastern Syria considered to be the Islamic State's last stronghold.

Ozaki is being held in Sulaymaniyah, an area in northern Iraq controlled by the Kurds.