A FILIPINA has been arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of helping a Syrian make explosive belts for suicide attacks in the kingdom, the interior ministry said Saturday.
The Syrian, identified as Mohamed al-Barazi, is suspected of turning the house they shared in the Saudi capital into a bomb factory, the ministry spokesman said.
Barazi is also accused of having a second house in Riyadh that he ran as a safe house for militants on the run.
He was detained in a police ambush in the capital on Wednesday, the spokesman said.
Police then raided the suspected bomb factory which they found had been booby-trapped.
The Filipina was named by the official Saudi Press Agency as Lady Gioi Aban Bali Nang and was said to have gone missing from her employer 15 months ago.
She was said to be wearing a suicide vest at the time of her arrest.
After the house had been made safe, police recovered two explosives belts, 10 containers of bomb-making materials and two firearms, the ministry said.
Asked on state television whether Barazi was suspected of links to the Islamic State, the spokesman said authorities “did not yet have sufficient evidence to make any direct connection with this terrorist group.”
A series of attacks claimed by IS in Saudi Arabia this year have killed dozens of people.
In July, authorities announced that they had detained 431 people, most of them Saudis, on suspicion of involvement in an IS cell.
Saudi Arabia has taken part in the US-led air war against IS in Syria since September last year raising fears of revenge attacks.
Malacañang said Sunday it would try to provide legal assistance to the Filipina.
“The government is trying to get in touch with the woman in order that she can be provided legal assistance,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. over state-run radio dzRB.
Coloma said the Department of Foreign Affairs is coordinating with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia.
The workers group Migrante said Sunday it was possible that the Filipina was forced by the Syrian bomb maker to live with him and convert to Islam.
“Undocumented or illegal OFWs, like many other undocumented expatriate workers in the kingdom, are in a deplorable situation after running away from their employers due to alleged abuses and labor malpractices,” said Migrante leader in Middle East John Leonard Monterona.
It was possible, he added, that she was not even aware that the belts she was sewing were used to carry explosives.