Suspected ISIS leader nabbed in Manila

Rajaf Zina and Husayn al-Dhafiri, believed to have ISIS links, were caught on March 26.
Rajaf Zina and Husayn al-Dhafiri, believed to have ISIS links, were caught on March 26.PHOTO: REUTERS

Philippine security officials say they may have foiled a possible terrorist attack after arresting in Manila a suspected mid-level leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the purported widow of the terrorist group's former No. 2 military commander.

In a news briefing yesterday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre identified the suspects as Husayn al-Dhafiri, a Kuwaiti, and his wife, Rajaf Zina, a Syrian.

The duo were allegedly planning to bomb sites either in Kuwait or the Philippines. They were spotted in January in Davao city, where 14 people were killed in a bomb attack at a night market last September.

Mr Aguirre said al-Dhafiri "is alleged to have been involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly operational planning against Kuwait".

He added that Zina is a widow of ISIS' second-in-command and "voice", Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, who was killed in a United States air strike in August last year.

Mr Aguirre said al-Dhafiri, known in ISIS as Abu Muslim al-Kuwaiti, will be deported to Kuwait, and Zina to Qatar, where they will both be handed over to security forces.

Both were arrested on March 26.

Raul Dancel

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2017, with the headline 'Suspected ISIS leader nabbed in Manila'. Print Edition | Subscribe