Three suspects have been arrested for stabbing three foreigners in an attack in the Maldives allegedly claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terror group, officials said on Thursday.
Police said “the heinous attack” was carried out by “suspected extremists” on Tuesday evening on the Hulhumale island near the North Male Atoll, reports Efe news.
The victims, two Chinese and an Australian, have been hospitalized and their condition is stable.
“The Maldives police service has arrested three suspects under a court warrant in relation to the stabbing of three foreign nationals,” the police said in a statement.
The suspects, who have not been identified, were arrested after the IS claimed the responsibility for the attack in a video posted on social media accounts linked to supporters of the Islamist group.
“We are also establishing the validity of a video circulating on social media claiming to be related to this attack,” the police said.
The video shows three men with their faces completely covered.
“We announce to you that we claim responsibility for the recent stabbings of the tourists (in the Maldives)”, says one of them.
“The portrayal that this (Maldives) is a paradise which you show to the foreign disbelievers has become a mirage.”
The man calls on his “brothers” to “stand up against the oppression of Muslims”.
The attack occurred a day after Maldivian President Mohamed Solih announced the completion of the construction of a centre to de-radicalize and rehabilitate Maldivian nationals who had joined the global terror group.
The initiative is part of Solih’s plans to repatriate the families of former IS fighters in Syria.
A 2015 US report on the number of foreign terrorists made a special mention of the Maldives, which has among the world’s highest number of foreign fighters per capita: 200 out of a total population of 345,000 inhabitants.