Malaysia arrests suspects with link to IS

Updated: 2015-12-05 15:29


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KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia arrested 5 men with suspected involvement in terrorist activities, including three linking to the Islamic States(IS), police said Saturday.

The three suspected with link to IS were arrested respectively in the Central state of Selangor, northern Kelantan and southern Johor. they were believed to belong to a small cell headed by a 31-year-old mechanic from Indonesia.

Police said the ring leader had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi via Facebook in 2014, and had contact with several Malaysians who joined IS in Syria.

The suspect is believed to serve a facilitator to send people from Malaysia and several neighboring countries to join IS in Syria and other terrorist groups in Southeast Asia.

The other two suspects in the group arrested were a 59-year-old Malaysian who helped to arrange trip for the would-be terrorists, as well as a 25-year-old Bangladeshi who planned to join the IS, police said.

In a series of raids from mid-November, police also arrested a 44-year-old English teacher from Europe, who was believed to have joined al-Qaeda and involved in terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Bosnia. An African college student was also taken into custody.

The latest operations by police came after increased security concerns over potential terrorists attacks in the region. Local media reported that the authorities have beefed up security after warnings that several terrorists have sneaked into neighboring Thailand.

An international Squash tournament scheduled to be held next week is likely to be postponed or cancelled despite Malaysian government officials and police have brushed off any imminent threats to the country.

The authorities have been closely monitoring any potential terrorist activities in the country, detaining more than 130 Malaysians for links with IS so far. But a top Indonesian counter-terrorists official warned recently that Malaysia has become a major transit point in the region for those who want to join the fight in the Middle East.