KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia’s police mentioned on Saturday that it had arrested five individuals, such as a European employed as a teacher, on suspicion of links with militant groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Malaysia is on heightened alert after reports on Friday that ten Syrians linked to Islamic State entered neighboring Thailand in October to attack Russian interests.
Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar stated in a statement that four of these arrested were foreign nationals and 1 was a Malaysian. The arrests had been created in between Nov. 17 and Dec. 1.
Amongst them was a 44-year-old European who was employed as a temporary teacher in the state of Penang, and had links with al-Qaeda and allegedly participated in militant activities in Afghanistan and Bosnia, the police said.
Three other suspects – a 31-year-old Indonesian man, a Malaysian and a Bangladeshi – have been element of a cell linked to the Islamic State (IS) group and are had been tasked with recruiting volunteers to take component in militant activities overseas.
The leader of the cell was the Indonesian who is stated to have vowed allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi by way of Facebook in 2014.
“He, along with the Malaysian national, is suspected of acting as facilitator to organize people from Malaysia and some Southeast Asian countries to join the Islamic State in Syria,” mentioned Khalid.
Southeast Asia faces the threat of Islamic State-inspired attacks created to “glamorize terrorism”, a Malaysian minister said final month, voicing fears of battle-hardened fighters returning from Syria to launch Paris-style attacks.
In September, Malaysian police thwarted a plot to detonate bombs in Kuala Lumpur’s vibrant tourist location of Bukit Bintang.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon)