02/07/2020, 14.20
MALDIVES
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Islamic State claims responsibility in stabbing incident involving three tourists

Revenge appears to be the motive for the attack on tourists. An Islamist recruiting militants to fight in the Mideast was arrested last year. The latest incident is a wake-up call after the attacks in Sri Lanka.

Malé (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack against three tourists, two from China and one from Australia, carried out this week on one of the Maldivian islands.

Yesterday, local police arrested three men in connection with the incident, and are investigating the veracity of the claim by the Caliphate.

The attack took place last Tuesday on Hulhumale, an island some seven kilometre from the capital city of Malé. The victims were taken to hospital and are in stable conditions.

The attackers are believed to be members of a radical Maldivian group affiliated with IS, which claimed responsibility for the attack in a video posted online.

Three masked men appear in the video. One of them accuses the Maldivian government of being run by infidels and promises more attacks.

According to experts, the stabbings could be revenge for the arrest of a local radical Islamic leader involved in recruiting militants to fight in the Middle East.

At least 160 Maldivians who left the archipelago to fight in Syria and Iraq are currently held in prison camps.

This violent incident highlights the increasing Islamist presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

In April last year, another country in the area, Sri Lanka, was hit by terrible attacks against three churches and three hotels on Easter Sunday that left 263 people dead and over 500 wounded.

The Maldives is an archipelago with a population of 340,000. Sunni Islam is the state religion and Sharia (Islamic law) is enforced – there is no religious freedom.

In 2008 a constitutional amendment stripped non-Muslims of the possibility of acquiring citizenship.

Alcohol and pork can only be served at the airport and in resorts where Maldivians are not allowed to work. Furthermore, idols of other religions cannot be brought into the country.

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