One of Malaysia’s most senior police chiefs has denied there is any link between the arrest of 11 alleged militants and the disappearance of Flight MH370.
The suspects, all aged between 22 and 55, were detailed in the Kedah and Selangor regions last week, local media reported.
Multiple news outlets reported that the suspects had links to al Qaeda and were arrested over the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 which took off from Kuala Lumpur for bound for Beijing on March 8.
"There is absolutely no connection between the arrests and the MH370," Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police, Khalid Bakar, told NBC News.
He also denied reports that the detainees were student activists.
The suspects, who were rounded up by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Anti-Terrorism Unit, are believed to have links to terror networks in Syria and southern Philippines and were planning to send Malaysian fighters to Damascus, The Star in Kuala Lumpur reported.
The development came on the same day as the first funeral for passengers missing on the flight, and a day after the airline said it had started talking to the families to discuss compensation.
Arata Yamamoto and Alastair Jamieson
First published May 4 2014, 3:17 AM