Ten Suspected Islamic State Members Arrested in Malaysia

By Hata Wahari
150820-MY-WANITAIS620.jpg A police officer in Kuala Lumpur escorts two Malaysian women suspected of links to the Islamic State, Aug. 20, 2015.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET on 2015-08-20

Malaysian police on Thursday said they had arrested 10 people, including military personnel and women, suspected of a range of activities promoting the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria and on home soil.

“This group was planning to purchase firearms for the purpose of launching an attack in Malaysia, helping IS members returning from Syria, recruiting people interested in joining IS and hiding information related to IS activity in Malaysia,” police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement late Thursday (local time).

“All are suspected of involvement in promoting the ideology of the IS terror group, raising funds and organizing the departure of Malaysians to join IS in Syria,” he said.

Since February 2013, Malaysia has arrested 111 individuals suspected of links to the extremist group, which has proclaimed a caliphate for itself in parts of Iraq and Syria.

The ten latest detainees include six members of security forces, two civil servants, a kindergarten teacher and a former designer, the statement said.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 42 years old, were being held at the Malaysian Police Counter Terrorism Division Special Branch headquarters at Bukit Aman, in Kuala Lumpur.

They were detained in simultaneous operations carried out Wednesday in the Malaysian capital and five states: Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Malacca, Khalid said.

The suspects were detained under Act 574 of the Malaysian Penal Code and will be investigated under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012, his statement said.

On July 9, police arrested two local men suspected of links with IS and of plotting attacks in the the Kuala Lumpur area. Twelve others were arrested in April in Selangor, also suspected of planning attacks on the capital.

“To date, our investigation has found a total of 66 individuals from Malaysia were reported to be in Syria and Iraq. The total may be bigger,” Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in June.

The group has been accused of committing atrocities against local people in the territories it has overtaken. On Tuesday, IS militants beheaded the 82-year-old retired chief archaeologist of the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria, according to multiple reports. IS supporters shared photos online purporting to show Khaled al-Assaad’s headless body hung on a median strip, according to AFP.


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