- Suspects were arrested in the capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Kedah
- Said to members of violent new terror group said to be planning attacks
- Interrogations came after demands from agencies including FBI and MI6
- Manifest revealed presence of consignment but did not reveal its contents
- Airline has admitted 200kg of lithium batteries was among the items
- It refused to say what else, citing 'legal reason' related to 'ongoing' probe
The suspects were arrested in the capital Kuala Lumpur and in the state of Kedah last week and are members of a violent new terror group said to be planning bomb attacks in Muslim countries.
The interrogations come after international investigators, including the FBI and MI6, asked for the militants, whose ages range from 22 to 55 and include students, odd-job workers, a young widow and business professionals, to be questioned intensively about Flight MH370.
Nearly two months after the Beijing-bound plane vanished soon after take-off from Kuala Lumpur, no trace has been found despite a huge sea search costing hundreds of millions of pounds. It is thought to have crashed into the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board.
An officer with the Counter Terrorism Division of Malaysian Special Branch said yesterday the arrests had heightened suspicion that the flight’s disappearance may have been an act of terrorism.
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In interviews conducted so far, some suspects have admitted planning ‘sustained terror campaigns’ in Malaysia but denied being involved in the disappearance of the airliner, he added.
During the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law, Saajid Badat (left) said he had been instructed to give a shoe bomb to the Malaysians. He claimed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed masterminded the plot.
He said: 'I gave one of my shoes to the Malaysians. I think it was to access the cockpit.'
Badat, who spoke via video link and is in hiding in the UK, told the New York court the Malaysian plot was being masterminded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11.
A mystery surrounding the cargo being carried by the missing Malaysian Airlines plane emerged on Friday when it was discovered that it had been loaded with items not specified on the manifest.
The aircraft was carrying 4.566 tonnes of mangosteens - an exotic fruit - and a shipment of lithium batteries, which were part of a separate consignment.
The batteries weighed 200kg, but that separate consignment totalled 2.453 tonnes. So what was being carried to make up the 2.253 tonnes in that separate shipment?
Questions have been raised as Malaysia Airlines said it will close assistance centres in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur for the families of the 239 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-200ER jet. MORE