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Philippines arrests terror plot suspects

Fifteen people in Singapore and 3 men in the Philippines have been arrested after a videotape was discovered in Afghanistan.
Fifteen people in Singapore and 3 men in the Philippines have been arrested after a videotape was discovered in Afghanistan.  


From Maria Ressa
CNN Jakarta Bureau

MANILA, Philippines (CNN) -- In a move that reveals the scope of the al Qaeda terrorist network's involvement in southeast Asia, Philippine authorities said Saturday they have arrested three men linked to a group of suspected al Qaeda terrorists arrested last month for a plot to bomb U.S. targets in southeast Asia.

Authorities in Singapore last month arrested 15 suspected terrorists allegedly linked to al Qaeda. The group told Philippine authorities to look for an Indonesian named Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi, 30, also known as "Mike the Bomb Maker," in connection with the alleged plot on U.S. targets.

The Singapore government asked Philippine authorities to search for al-Ghozi in December, and immigration records led to his arrest in Manila on December 17.

Al-Ghozi is a member of the Jemaah Islamiya terrorist cell, the group the Singapore government said was plotting to bomb the U.S. Embassy and other interests.

While under interrogation, al-Ghozi told police about three men in General Santos City, in the southern Philippines, who were linked to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Muslim separatist group in the Philippines. Authorities found and arrested the three Filipinos, all of them brothers.

The arrest of those men -- Mohammad Malagat, Almuctar Malagat, and Mualidin Malagat -- led police to one ton of explosives and detonating devices that police say were intended for targets in southeast Asia.

Philippine police said they are looking for two other Indonesians as part of the same investigation. When pressed for details, police said they were broadening the net in their effort to fight terrorism in the Philippines.

The link between the MILF and the al Qaeda network could mean changes for the government's relationship with the separatist group, which is currently involved in peace talks with Manila.



 
 
 
 



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