Malaysian authorities have arrested four citizens, including a married couple, over their alleged involvement with the Islamic State terror group as the Muslim-majority nation remained under a high alert after the recent terror attacks in Jakarta, police said today.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said three Malaysians, including the couple, were arrested by Turkish authorities as they were trying to sneak into Syria on November 15 last year, while the fourth person was arrested at the Setiawangsa LRT station in central Kuala Lumpur yesterday by Counter Terrorism Division personnel.
“The three suspects arrested in Gaziantep, Turkey were sent back to Malaysia last Monday. The suspected IS lone wolf arrested by police yesterday was planning attacks on several popular entertainment outlets in the city.
Sources told the Star that the 28-year-old man, who was a former insurance agent, was carrying a knife and that police also seized several IS related documents from him.
Khalid said that during initial interrogation of the suspect, he admitted to planning the lone wolf attack after receiving instructions from IS members in Syria.
“The man has admitted that he was responsible for hanging IS flags at several locations in Terengganu, Perak, Selangor and Johor states.
“The flags were put up as a warning to the Government to halt operations to arrest IS elements found in the country,” Khalid said in a press statement today.
He said that the three Malaysians aged between 23 and 28, also suspected to have joined the IS group had earlier been detained in Gaziantep, Turkey on November 15 by the Turkish authorities.
Khalid said the trio, which includes a husband and a wife were detained at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) upon their arrival on Monday after their extradition process had been completed.
“All of them were recruited by Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi @ Abu Hamzah, a Malaysian-national who joined the IS group in Syria and is responsible for ‘smuggling in’ the trio to Syria,” he added.
All four suspects were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).
Malaysia was put on a high alert following a series of coordinated terror attacks on Jakarta by an IS-linked terror group. The Thursday attacks involved suicide bombers as well as gunmen in which seven persons including five terrorists were killed.