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Malaysia Planning to Arrest Suspected al-Qaida Supporter


Authorities in Malaysia say they plan to arrest and deport a U.S. citizen who is wanted in the United States on charges of conspiring to support the al-Qaida terrorist network. The suspect has gone into hiding but Malaysian officials say they know where to find him.

Malaysian officials Monday said they have issued an arrest warrant for the suspect, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal. He is believed to have been in the country since January studying at the International Islamic University outside Kuala Lumpur.

The Bernama news agency quotes Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as saying that Mr. Bilal's passport has been revoked by the U.S. government. As a result he is an illegal immigrant and can be deported.

Prime Minister Mohammad Mahathir earlier told reporters that the suspect, if arrested, would be subject to Malaysian law. Malaysia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

The 24-year-old suspect is one of six individuals named by U.S. officials as members of a suspected terrorist cell. Four members of the group, including Mr. Bilal's brother, were arrested last week in the northern states of Oregon and Michigan. A sixth suspect is at large.

The suspects are charged in U.S. courts with conspiracy to levy war against the United States and provide support for the al-Qaida network.

Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 23 million people, has detained several dozen individuals suspected of plotting to create an Islamist state in the region and of supporting al-Qaida. Many of them are accused of belonging to the Jemaah Islamiah group that has been identified by Malaysia and Singapore as a Southeast Asian terrorist group with ties to al-Qaida. The United States is considering designating Jemaah Islamiah an international terrorist group.

Singapore this year has arrested dozens of individuals accused of belonging to Jemaah Islamiah and of plotting attacks against Western embassies and personnel. Indonesia has refused to arrest the alleged leader of the group, the founder of a religious school in central Indonesia, saying there is insufficient evidence.

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