Iraqi with ‘terrorist links’ arrested in Pampanga

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PHILIPPINE National Police Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa announced on Monday the arrest of an Iraqi who has close ties to the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.

Taha Mohamed Al-Jabouri, 64, was arrested in Pampanga on Sunday for overstaying in the country for more than 90 days.

In a press conference, de la Rosa said that Al-Jabouri was a chemist and rocket consultant for various militant extremist movements like Hamas. He also has a masters degree in explosive technology in Belgrand University, Yugoslavia.

Al-Jabohri arrived in the Philippines on August 27, 2017 from Istanbul, Turkey.

De ls Rosa said the Iraqi Embassy in Manila alerted PNP Intelligence after it found out that Al-Jabouri’s visa was only valid until November 9, 2017.

“Ang sabi ng Iraqi embassy  na nakapasok daw sa Philippines a certain Taha Mohamed Al-Jabouri at pagpasok [niya], hindi na makita, nawala na and worried ang Iraqi embassy dahil kilala siya. Alam nila na member ito ng Hamas,” de la Rosa said.

The PNP Intelligence Group (IG), led by Police Chief Supt. Norberto Solomon, arrested Al-Jabouri in Barangay Malabanias, Angeles City, at 3 about a.m. on Sunday.

Authorities were able to seize his black luggage containing personal effects and different denominations of foreign currency.

Al-Jabouri said during interrogation with the authorities that he came to the country to meet with a Filipino-Chinese business group.

However, de la Rosa doubted the reason since the Iraqi national claimed he only spoke Arabic.

“Nagdududa [ako]. Baka mamaya,
mas magaling ito mag-ingles sa atin kasi kapag tinatanong mo Arabic lang daw,” he said.

De la Rosa said authorities have yet to establish that Al-Jabouri has terrorist links here in the Philippines.

“Right now, we haven’t established yet the threat that he posed [to]the Philippines but considering the time of his entry into the Philippines — at the height of the Marawi siege and the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) — that prompted the Iraqi Embassy to raise the alarm for Philippine security forces,” de la Rosa said.

The PNP IG is currently coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration and the Iraqi Embassy for further disposition of the Iraqi national. ROY NARRA

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