Philippines, Indonesia bust terror plots

Philippines, Indonesia bust terror plots

Kuwaiti Husayn al-Dharifi (right) and Syrian Rajaf Zina, suspected to have links to Islamic State, were presented Thursday during a press conference at the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) headquarters in metro Manila. (Reuters photo)

MANILA – Philippine security forces arrested a Kuwaiti and a five-month pregnant Syrian for suspected links to Islamic State three months after they arrived, authorities revealed on Thursday.

Kuwaiti Husayn al-Dhafiri and Syrian Rajaf Zina had been living and working in Manila since January before they were arrested on March 25 in an upscale commercial district, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told reporters.

The two, with Husayn wearing an orange prison uniform, were paraded in front of journalists at the National Bureau of Investigation office where they were being held.

Authorities said al-Dakiri would be deported to Kuwait where he is suspected of bomb plots. Zina would be deported to Qatar, from where she last came. The two were not available for comment.

“We are only speculating why they are in the Philippines,” Aguirre said after immigration authorities said the two had travelled to Davao in the south and Cebu in the central Philippines.

Aguirre said they had relied heavily on information from foreign allies to detect the presence of suspected Islamic State militants.

They were first came to the Philippines last year on tourist visas but returned in January on working visas after a Kuwaiti manpower agency hired them, immigration authorities said.

Meanwhile, Channel NewsAsia reported Indonesian police had foiled a Mumbai-style terror attack in the heart of Jakarta, hatched by a militant from inside a maximum-security prison

CNA said the mastermind was Iwan Darmawan, also known as Rois. He is currently on death row for his role in the 2004 Australian Embassy car bombing in Jakarta and is held at the island prison of Nusakambangan in Central Java.

“Rois planned a Mumbai-style attack in the heart of Jakarta while inside the prison but the police have foiled it,” CNA quoted a counter-terrorism source as saying.

The agency reported last month that Rois was able to communicate with militants outside the prison and directed one of them, a man identified only by the initials SM, to procure weapons from southern Philippines for the attack.

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