Philippines set to deport Iraqi 'Hamas rocket scientist'
The Philippines said on Monday it would deport an elderly Iraqi man accused of developing rocket technology for the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Iraq tipped off the Philippines about the presence of Taja Mohammad Al Jabori, who was arrested on Sunday, national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters.
The arrest was due to visa problems, however, rather than any evidence of militant activity, the police chief emphasised.
"He's an illegal alien, his visa is expired so he has to be deported right away," Dela Rosa said.
"He admitted being a member of Hamas. He's a chemist and he has been responsible for improving the rocket technology of Hamas in firing their missiles from their area towards the other side, for Israel."
The suspect will be deported to Iraq.
It is the first time authorities in the Philippines have dealt with an alleged member of Hamas, police said.
The handcuffed detainee did not speak while being made to stand beside the Philippine police chief at a press conference.
Dela Rosa said it was unclear at present why the alleged Hamas chemist had travelled to the Philippines.
Police said he arrived last year as Philippine's army battled militants loyal to the Islamic State group for control of the southern city of Marawi.
Al Jabori had however mostly stayed in Manila and nearby provinces and told police he had no intention of committing any terror act in the Philippines, the police chief said.