PNP: No info yet on links of arrested alleged ISIS members

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) —  Even if the Philippine National Police (PNP) declares that they see no imminent threat, security expert Rommel Banlaoi said it is important for authorities to identify the local links of an arrested foreign couple allegedly involved in the international terrorist group ISIS, to deter their possible terror activities.

Around 75,000 policemen have been deployed nationwide to patrol public areas, main roads, and tourist spots as part of the PNP's Oplan Summer Vacation. But this number may increase depending on any intelligence information that may threaten public safety.

The arrest of Kuwaiti Husayn Al-Dhafiri and his Syrian wife Rahaf Zina, in Taguig City on March 25 has given some sense of security in the wake of perceived security threats.

"Wala ho kaming [We don't have] information pertaining to other persons connected with the two arrested foreign nationals," said PNP Spokesperson S/Supt. Dionardo Carlos.

Banlaoi said the arrest strongly affirms the government's campaign against terrorism.

He added that strengthening intelligence ties with other countries can deter the entry of undesirable foreign terrorists.

Banloi noted that intelligence information shared by the Kuwaiti government helped in the arrest of the foreign couple at the Bonifacio Global City. 

"The Philippine government should solidify its cooperation with other countries for information sharing because monitoring these foreign terrorist personalities will be very difficult so if we can share information, that can alert our authorities to conduct appropriate actions," he said.

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 allegedly involved in the manufacture of explosives, and were reportedly planning a bombing in Kuwait and possibly the country.

The PNP said it is working with other countries through international police agencies like Interpol and Aseanapol.

Banlaoi said it is important for authorities to establish if the couple managed to link with local terror groups.

"Maybe their frequent visit to the Philippines was intended to build local contacts to mount their bombing operations. And I assume, based on the activities of foreign terrorists in the Philippines, maybe they intend to finance bombing attacks," he said.

But the PNP said there is so far no information on persons possibly connected with the arrested foreigners.