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Malaysia arrests three 'for supplying Israeli man with guns'

Malaysia arrests three suspected of supplying Israeli man with firearms
2 min read
The Israeli man was found with six handguns and 200 bullets, and had reportedly travelled to Malaysia on a fake French passport.
The Israeli man reportedly bought the weapons before arriving in Malaysia, and paid for them via cryptocurrency [Getty/file photo]

Malaysian authorities have arrested three people suspected of supplying firearms to a 36-year-old man carrying an Israeli passport, who was detained this week at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, police said on Saturday.

The man, arrested with a bag containing six handguns and 200 bullets, had arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport from the United Arab Emirates on March 12 using what authorities believed to be a fake French passport, Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain told a press conference late on Friday.

The suspect turned over an Israeli passport upon questioning by police, Razarudin said, adding that the man, who has not been publicly identified, had ordered the weapons after arriving in Malaysia and paid for them with cryptocurrency.

The Israeli embassy in Singapore did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Malaysia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations.

Police did not rule out the possibility that the man could be a member of Israeli intelligence, though the suspect told authorities he had entered Malaysia to hunt down another Israeli citizen due to a family dispute.

"We do not fully trust this narrative as we suspect there may be another agenda," Razarudin said, adding that the man had stayed at several hotels while in Malaysia.

Three Malaysians, including a married couple, were arrested on Friday and have been remanded for seven days on suspicion of supplying weapons and acting as a driver to the Israeli suspect, Razarudin told Reuters on Saturday.

A pistol was retrieved from a car belonging to the couple, he said.

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Authorities have been put on high alert following the man's arrest, with security beefed up for Malaysia's king, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and other high-level figures.

Malaysia, a majority-Muslim country, is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and has condemned Israel's military onslaught in the Gaza Strip, which has killed at least 32,705 Palestinians as of Saturday. Malaysia is also home to around 600 Palestinian refugees, according to the UN refugee agency.

In 2018, a Palestinian scientist was shot dead in the Malaysian capital by two unidentified men in a killing that Hamas suggested was carried out by Israel's Mossad intelligence service. Israel denied the allegations.