MALAYSIA, Kualalumper: Malaysian police said they had arrested four doubtful person, in which one of whom was planning a suicide attack in the country.Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement its counterterrorism unit arrested the suspects, all Malaysians aged twenty three to twenty eight, between Jan. 11 and 15 in Kuala Lumpur and neighboring Selangor state. Concerns that Islamic State (IS) militants in the Middle East are taking a direct hand in organizing terrorist attacks in Asia escalated Saturday.
After five Islamic State-aligned militants staged bomb, the arrests came as Malaysian security officials put the country on high alert and gun attacks in Indonesia on Thursday. All were killed, some by exploding bombs they were carrying, along with two passersby. On Saturday, Indonesian police it had arrested twelve suspected terrorists from January 14-16 and that one suspect received “big” funding from Islamic State. Hundreds of Indonesians and Malaysians have made their way to the Middle East to fight with Islamic State in recent years, often passing through Turkey. Some have formed their own division, which they call the Malay Archipelago Combat Unit.
While effective police work blunted the potential effects of the Jakarta attacks and appears to have thwarted another assault in Malaysia, security officials say they are alarmed by the influence these fighters might have if they return home to Southeast Asia, as well as the impact they might have on those still in Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysian officials, for instance, have detained over one hundred twenty people under the country’s antiterrorism laws since 2014. Police said one of the four men arrested in the past few days admitted to planning an attack in Kuala Lumpur after receiving instructions from an Islamic State member in Syria. Arrested at a train station Friday, police said the twenty eight-year-old man had raised the black Islamic State flag in several locations in Malaysia, in a warning to governments to stop arresting the group’s supporters.
The other three suspects were previously arrested by authorities in Turkey after they attempted to enter Syria to join Islamic State forces there. They were sent back to Malaysia on January 11 and were arrested on arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Police said the trio were recruited and lured to the Middle East by a Malaysian national called Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi via Facebook and the Telegram messaging application. Two of the suspects are a married couple from Perak state, while the other man and the man arrested on January 15 are from Terengganu state, where they worked respectively as an engineer and an insurance agent.
“It’s a game changer for police,” said Ahmad El-Muhammady, a professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia, who works with Malaysian police to rehabilitate terrorist suspects. “The threat is actual, no longer potential, because it crossed the line from planning to executing.”