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Suspected jihadists held in Maldives after foreigners stabbed

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Malé (Maldives) (AFP)

Maldives police arrested three suspected Islamic extremists Thursday over the stabbing of three foreigners in the upmarket tourist destination.

Two Chinese men and an Australian were in a stable condition after being stabbed Tuesday, just two months after security officials warned of the presence of violent radicals inspired by the Islamic State group.

Authorities said were investigating a video released on social media claiming the attack had been carried out by a local group sympathetic to IS.

"The Maldives police service has arrested three suspects under a court warrant in relation to the stabbing of three foreign nationals," police said in a statement.

They were not identified.

Late last year the Maldives arrested a local man described by the United States as a recruiter for IS in Syria and Afghanistan.

He was also suspected of being involved in a crude bomb attack in the capital Male in September 2007 which injured a dozen tourists.

In June last year the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims called for international help to rehabilitate up to 160 of its nationals thought to be held in Syrian detention camps.

Maldives parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Nasheed has said that the Maldives was keeping a close watch on any attempt to radicalise its population, which practises a liberal form of Islam and relies heavily on luxury tourism.

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