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More ties between Iraq and Islamist terrorists are turning up in the Philippines.
The Philippines has started deportation proceedings against 11 Iraqis arrested in the past several days on suspicion of terrorism, officials said Friday.
Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo said the Iraqis have been monitored for terrorist activities for some time and claimed they were part of an "established network" linked to Iraqi Consul Husham Husain, who was expelled last month.
Authorities have said Husain received a phone call from a member of the Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf following a bombing last October that killed three people, including a U.S. soldier on a training mission, in southern Zamboanga city.
Domingo gave no details of the Iraqis' alleged terrorist activities and said intelligence agencies and immigration officials were still interrogating the men.
She said they will be deported for violating immigration laws and for being undesirable aliens. She did not elaborate.
"There are theories that the Iraqis have a working relationship with al-Qaida," Domingo told reporters. "There is really an established network that emanated from the activities of the consul who was booted out of the country. We've been studying the movements and activities of these people for a long time."
She said that among those arrested was Karim Jassim Bidawi, a "blacklisted alien" who was implicated in the 1989 kidnapping of a member of the Kuwaiti royal family in the Philippines but released for lack of evidence. Another Iraqi, Saad Khahamatar T'laa, is a suspect in the 1991 bombing of the U.S. cultural center in suburban Manila that killed the two suspected Iraqi bombers, Domingo said.
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