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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Malaysia swoops on Islamic militants
The US embassy in Singapore
Militants have been accused of targeting US interests
Police in Malaysia have arrested 14 suspected Islamic militants, including the wife of a man who is accused of helping two of the hijackers who carried out the 11 September attacks on America.

The 14 suspects were arrested across Malaysia on Wednesday and early Thursday, said police inspector general Norian Mai.

They have been held under Malaysia's controversial Internal Security Act which allows for indefinite detention without trial of those who are accused of threatening national security.

There will definitely be more arrests, that's for sure

Police Assistant Superintendent Samsudin Ali

Malaysia's crack-down on Islamic militants has been warmly welcomed by the US. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is preparing for a visit to the White House in May where President George W Bush will thank him for his support on Washington's war on terror.

Altogether 38 suspected militants have been detained in Malaysia since last December, although the raids on such groups date back to before the September attacks on America.

Many suspects are thought to belong to the groups Jemaah Islamiyah and the Malaysian Mujahideen Group (KMM), both of which analysts say want to establish an Islamic state across Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

Al-Qaeda links

Among the latest detainees was Sejahratul Dursina, wife of former Malaysian army captain Yazid Sufaat, who has already been detained under the ISA since December on accusations that he let two of the hijackers that flew a plane into the Pentagon stay in an apartment belonging to the couple in January 2000.

The US alleges that he also gave assistance to Zacarias Moussaoui, a French citizen who has been jailed in the US on charges of conspiracy in the September attacks.

Authorities say south-east Asian Muslims have plotted bomb attacks on the US embassy and other pro-West targets in Singapore.

In January, Singapore arrested 13 people it accused of plotting attacks on US interests and servicemen there.

Muslim militant suspects have also been arrested in Singapore and the Philippines. On Thursday an Indonesian man, Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, was jailed in Manila for 10 years on for illegal possession of explosives.

See also:

18 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Philippines jails al-Qaeda suspect
22 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Indonesian police summon cleric
15 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian row over TV 'propaganda'
04 Jan 02 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia holds 'militant Muslims'
26 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysian opposition fear crackdown
24 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia denies harbouring terrorists
04 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's fearsome security law
30 Nov 99 | Asia-Pacific
Malaysia's opposition: Breaking the mould?
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