KL nabs civil servants in anti-terror raids
EIGHT Malaysians have been detained in separate anti-terrorism operations in three states, two of whom are believed to have links to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said Malaysia's police chief yesterday.
The suspects, aged between 22 and 36, were detained in simultaneous raids in Selangor, Perak and Johor on Friday by the police force's counter-terrorism division, The Star daily reported, quoting a statement by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar.
The division is part of a special branch based in the Bukit Aman police headquarters.
Six of the suspects are believed to be members of the Tandzim Al-Qaeda militant group, while the other two, both civil servants, have links to ISIS, said IGP Khalid.
The police believe the two, both aged 28, belong to the same ISIS cell as two other civil servants detained on Aug 19.
"This particular cell is responsible for spreading (ISIS) ideology among colleagues in their government departments," said IGP Khalid.
Ten Malaysians, two of whom were civil servants, were arrested in August on suspicion of fostering links with ISIS and planning attacks in Malaysia.
The other six men detained on Friday were remnants of Tandzim Al-Qaeda, whose members have been in hiding since operations were launched in February 2013 to arrest their senior leaders, the Agenda Daily news portal quoted IGP Khalid as saying.
The police chief said two of the six - a 24-year-old former civil servant from Selangor and a 33-year-old electrician from Kuala Lumpur - were the group's leaders.
The two were detained in Lebanon in 2012, for trying to get into Syria for terrorist activity.
"They were escorted back to Malaysia by a special squad from the Counter Terrorism division on Oct 30 and were arrested when they reached Kuala Lumpur International Airport," said IGP Khalid.
The other four were members of the Malaysian cell of Tandzim Al-Qaeda, he added.
Tandzim Al-Qaeda is believed to be a splinter group of Jemaah Islamiah, a transnational Islamist group based in South-east Asia.
The eight suspects will be investigated according to the procedures of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, enacted in 2012, reported Malaysia's Berita Harian.
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that so far 123 people who were detained in Malaysia for links with ISIS had been dealt with by the government.
"A total of 22 were charged, 38 were released, 48 indicted, 14 driven out of the country and one still being investigated," he told Parliament.
Meanwhile, it is believed that there are more than 60 Malaysians now in Syria.