NBI presents alleged ISIS members nabbed in Taguig

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 6) — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presented to the public two foreigners with suspected links to terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday.

Kuwaiti Husayn Al-Dhafiri and Syrian Rahaf Zina, who claimed to be Al-Dhafiri's wife, were arrested on March 25 in front of an establishment in Taguig.

They were put under NBI custody when they failed to present immigration documents.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said they arrested the foreigners with the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Based on confidential information from Kuwait's Security Service, Al-Dhafiri, with alias Abu Muslim Al Kuwaiti, is on the watchlist of the Kuwaiti government.

Zina was also identified as the widow of Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti, the second highest commander of ISIS who was killed in the Middle East.

Investigators also said Al-Dhafiri and Zina were involved in the manufacture of explosives, and were reportedly planning a bombing in Kuwait and possibly the Philippines.

The Kuwaiti government sent a note verbale to the Philippine government asking that Al-Dhafiri be deported to Kuwait to face charges.

The Armed Forces is still looking into possible connections of the two foreigners with other local groups.

Easy entry?

According to the Bureau of Immigration, Al-Dhafiri and Zina had numerous trips in and out of the country. Al-Dhafiri's last was on January 28.

Al-Dhafiri, using his own passport, entered the country from Qatar on a tourist visa in 2016. He obtained a working visa after working for a recruitment company.

When he was arrested with Zina outside an establishment in Taguig, Zina requested to be sent to the hospital because she claimed she was pregnant.

Information from the Kuwaiti government said the couple is strongly linked to ISIS, raising speculations as to the purpose of their stay in the country.

"We kept this under wraps for more than a week because I think they gave us a number of a person, that in case that they will be captured, to call this particular person. We did not do it, because some of us believe that it is a signal for the others to continue doing their terrorist activities," Aguirre said.

Aguirre denies that the entry of the alleged terrorists is related to the manpower problem at the immigration bureau.

Read more: BI dealing with lack of personnel amid overtime pay issue

CNN Philippines Correspondent JC Gotinga contributed to this report.