Malaysian Police Trash Al Qaeda Hijack Theory

Police deny that 11 people arrested over the weekend were involved with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Contact Editor
Yaakov Levi,

Search plane hunts for MH370 (file)
Search plane hunts for MH370 (file)

Malaysian police on Sunday denied that eleven people arrested over the weekend had been detained on suspicion of being involved with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now missing for some two months. Police called the reports “rubbish,” according to several media outlets that quoted a police official.

On Saturday night, a report in the London Daily Mail said that the 11, Al Qaeda-linked terrorists, had been detained on various charges, including being involved in the disappearance of the plane. The eleven, whose ages range from 22 to 55 and include students, business professionals, odd-job workers and even a young widow, are being questioned intensively over the flight after an investigation by several intelligence organizations.

In statements attributed to them in the report, Malaysian officials seemed to confirm that the 11 had been arrested in connection with the plane's disappearance. But on Sunday, Malaysia's Police Inspector-General, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, the highest-ranking police offficer in the country, told local media that the British report was “rubbish. The arrests had nothing to do with the plane.”

This is not the first time that terrorism was cited as a factor in the plane's disappearance. Last month, the London Telegraph reported that Malaysian Islamists took the plane, and were planning to use it in a 9/11-style attack on skyscrapers in the country. That theory gained credence when it was revealed that the flight's pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was also a strong supporter of the Islamists. However, no evidence for this theory has as yet surfaced either.