The Philippines says its security forces have foiled a possible terrorist attack after arresting a Kuwaiti man and his Syrian wife linked to the terrorist Daesh group.
Authorities said on Thursday that law enforcement personnel had arrested Husayn al-Dhafiri and Rahaf Zina in the Bonifacio Global City of Manila.
The arrests came after Kuwaiti authorities informed their Filipino counterparts in March about the suspected terrorists.
Filipino authorities, however, had kept the arrests secret while they were investigating the case, officials said.
In recent months, the couple had made multiple entries into the country and were planning "a bombing operation" in either the Philippines or Kuwait, said Filipino Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre.
Aguirre said al-Dhafiri was an active Daesh member in the Middle East where the group is concentrated. He said US authorities had told him that al-Dhafiri could "pose a threat to the national security of the Philippines."
"He is alleged to have been involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly operational planning against Kuwait," Aguirre said.
Al-Dhafiri had wedded Zina after her husband, a high-ranking Daesh commander, was killed while fighting in Syria, according to the Filipino minister.
Aguirre said the suspects had entered the Philippines from Qatar. He said the Kuwaiti would be sent to local authorities in Kuwait while the Syrian would be sent to Qatar.
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration Associate Commissioner Jake Licas said the Kuwaiti national is one of the Daesh group's commanders who came to the country on a work visa.
"Husayn al-Dhafiri is known as Abu Muslim al-Kuwaiti, his known name as ISIS [Daesh] commander in Syria ... and we were able to receive information from our foreign counterparts only recently that this person is involved in explosives manufacturing," Licas said.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had previously raised the alarm about Daesh militants making their way into the Southeast Asian nation after the group sustained heavy losses in Syria and Iraq,
The Philippines has been battling extremist groups in the remote southern region of the country where Abu Sayyaf terrorist outfit has pledged allegiance to Daesh.