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KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 ― Malaysian police today denied claims in the foreign media that the 11 suspected terrorists nabbed here and in Kedah had links to the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar reportedly confirmed this to English daily The Star today.
“That’s rubbish! This has nothing to do with the plane,” the police chief was quoted saying in The Star Online.
According to reports in UK’s Daily Mirror and the New York-based International Business Times (IBTimes) today, foreign investigators involved in the probe on MH370 had requested for a full report on the 11 Malaysians, believing they may have been involved in the plane’s disappearance.
IBTimes quoted an unnamed officer from the counter-terrorism division of Malaysia’s Special Branch as having revealed that the 11 were interrogated yesterday over MH370’s mysterious disappearance nearly two months ago.
“The possibility that the plane was diverted by militants is still high on the list and international investigators have asked for a comprehensive report on this new terror group,” the officer was quoted as saying.
The IBTimes news report also said it is believed the 11 who were arrested at several locations within the city here and in Kedah over the past week may be members of a new terror group that has been planning bomb attacks in Muslim countries.
The 11 are aged between 22 and 55 and includes Saiden Ismail from student activist group Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM).
The group was hauled up by Malaysian police under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) for their alleged involvement in a plan to fight in Syria’s civil war.
Malaysian authorities also believe the 11 may be linked to Yazid Sufaat, who was previously detained under counter-terrorism laws for trying to incite terror outside the country.
Yazid was arrested last year for openly calling on volunteers to join Sunni rebels in the armed fight against the forces of Syria’s Shiah president Bashir al-Asad.
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared barely an hour later when it lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC).
At the time, the plane’s last known location was 120 nautical miles off the coast of Kota Baru in Kelantan.
But a week after the aircraft’s mysterious disappearance, Malaysia announced that the Boeing 777 jetliner had diverted from its path to Beijing through deliberate action and that it was focusing investigations on the 12 crew and 227 passengers on board.
The announcement suggested the possibility of pilot suicide or a terrorist attempt by a person or persons aboard the wide-body jet. But no leads have been found yet to prove this.
Investigators, which include a massive team of experts from around the world, have so far concluded that the aircraft carrying 239 people had “ended” in the Indian Ocean, based on satellite and radar data.