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14 al-Qaida Suspects Arrested in Malaysia - 2002-04-18


Malaysian police say they have arrested 14 people suspected of having links to the al-Qaida terrorist network. One of those arrested is the wife of a man linked indirectly to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Malaysian police Inspector General Norian Mai says the 14 suspects are being held in several districts across the country. They are being detained under the Internal Security Act which allows authorities to hold without trial people they think threaten national security. Among those arrested is Sejahratul Dursina, the wife of Yazid Sufaat, a former Malaysian army captain who is accused of letting members of the al-Qaida terrorist network stay in an apartment he and his wife owned. Those allowed to stay in the apartment include two men involved in the September 11 attacks. Mr. Yazid has been in detention since December.

A lawyer for Sejahratul Dursina says her arrest has no legal basis. Malaysia is holding more than 30 people suspected of being linked to terrorist groups. Mr. Yazid and most of the other detainees are thought to be linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian group of Islamic extremists thought to have ties to al-Qaida. Authorities in the region say they foiled a plot by the group to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Singapore and other targets such as Western-owned businesses.

Suspects in that plot are also in detention in Singapore and the Philippines.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed is scheduled to travel next week to Washington for talks with President Bush.

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