World

Manila to deport terror suspects

MANILA: A Kuwaiti man and his Syrian wife, both alleged members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, have been arrested in the Philippines, and the authorities said a possible terror attack had been foiled.

Police nabbed Husayn Al-Dhafiri and Rahaf Zina in an upscale district of Manila following a tip-off from the Kuwaiti authorities late last month, but the arrests were kept secret while the local authorities investigated further, officials said.

The pair had entered the country repeatedly in recent months as part of plans for "a bombing operation" either in the Philippines or Kuwait, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre told reporters.

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Al-Dhafiri was an active member of the terror group in the Middle East and US authorities believed he could "pose a threat to the national security of the Philippines", Mr Aguirre said. "He is alleged to have been involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly operational planning against Kuwait."

Al-Dhafiri would be deported to Kuwait while Zina would be sent back to Qatar from where she had entered the Philippines. Mr Aguirre added that the two had got married after her husband, an ISIS commander, was killed in Syria.

The Kuwaiti embassy in Manila could not be contacted for comment.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has previously warned that ISIS members might make their way into the country by infiltrating its Muslim communities.

The Philippines has been battling for years with Muslim extremist groups in its remote southern region.

Mr Aguirre said he could not confirm if the two suspects had any contact with local extremists. - AFP

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