October 29, 2012
Malaysian Jihadists In Lebanon: Belated Response from Wisma Putra and Home Affairs Ministry
by Malaysian Insider (10-28-12)
Putrajaya is giving priority to investigating Malaysia’s alleged link to global Islamic militants al Qaeda and the Taliban after Lebanon arrested two Malaysians suspected of being suicide bombers who had infiltrated the Middle Eastern country earlier this month.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said his Ministry is on the case as the duo’s ties to the Islamic terrorist groups is very worrying while Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Wisma Putra is monitoring closely the detention of suspects in Lebanon.
“We’ll investigate the suspected involvement of Malaysians with al Qaeda and Taliban in depth as it’s a matter of grave concern,” Hishammuddin was reported by state news agency Bernama as saying in Kluang today.
He was also reported saying that Malaysia’s involvement with terrorist organisations based in the Middle East was unusual and pointed out that local links have so far been limited to regional groups such as Jemaah Islamiah or Darul Islam.
“Malaysia does not condone terrorism or extremism by any group that may compromise the security of any country and its people, and fully respects the laws of Lebanon,” Anifah said in a statement today to Bernama, backing his Cabinet colleague.
He added that both were scheduled to appear in the Lebanese court again tomorrow, but did not say what the charges were.
He said the Malaysian embassy in Beirut is acting to meet the duo and provide them with consular advice and that the families of the two suspects have also been informed of their arrest.
Lebanese newspaper al-Joumhouria has identified the two suspects as Rafik Mohammed Aaref, 21, and 28-year-old Mohammed Razin Shaaban, citing its country’s military intelligence.
Wisma Putra did not respond when contacted by The Malaysian Insider today for confirmation of the suspects’ identities.
The Arabic newspaper also reported that the duo have been charged with being members of al Qaeda and had been recruited to join the organisation in 2007 by another Malaysian, whom they named as Mustapha Mansour.
Citing Lebanese security sources, the paper reported that the two Malaysians had previously been arrested in 2007 and were sentenced to jail where they met Jamal al-Badawi, who was accused of being behind the 2000 bombing of a US Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, in Yemen.
Al-Joumhouria reported that the Malaysian suspects tried to enter Syria some two months ago, through Turkey on a jihadist mission in order to carry out suicide attacks planned by a man the paper named as Abou Hassan and which it said was responsible for the entry of all jihadists to Syria.
The daily reported that the Malaysians then headed to Lebanon after they failed to enter Syria.