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Two Malaysians arrested in Lebanon for Qaeda links

world Updated: Oct 28, 2012 16:23 IST

Malaysia today said Lebanese authorities have arrested two of its nationals on the suspicion that they were suicide bombers linked to al Qaeda.

The two, aged 21 and 28, have been nabbed at Beirut International Airport on October 18. They are likely to be produced before a military court tomorrow.

Confirming the news, Malaysian ambassador to Lebanon Ilango Karuppannan told 'Bernama' news agency: "They will be brought to court on Monday (tomorrow) and we will ask them whether they require counsel."

Investigations revealed they were recruited into al Qaeda by another Malaysian before being taken to Yemen where they met other members of the organisation, a Lebanese daily said.

Al-Joumhouria said about two months ago, the two Malaysians had tried to enter Syria via Turkey on a jihadist mission to carry out suicide attacks.

Their planned attacks were coordinated by a man who was said to be responsible for the entry of all jihadists into Syria.

When the two Malaysians failed to enter Syria, they decided to head to Lebanon to carry out terrorist attacks but their activities caught the eye of the army intelligence, the paper said.

Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said initial investigations confirmed that the two men, identified as Rafik Mohammed Aaref dan Mohammed Razin Shaaban, had no direct link with militant Islamic groups in this region like Jemaah Islamiah and Darul Islam.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a statement today that the two suspects had been brought to the Military Court in Beirut on October 25 where the charges were read to them.

"The Malaysian Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon is taking action to meet the two Malaysian nationals and provide consular advice. The families of the two suspects have also been informed of their arrest.

"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," he said.