Malaysia arrests 7 ISIL-linked jihadists who were planning attacks

Special to

Malaysian police have arrested seven members of a terror cell linked to Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Malaysian national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar. /Reuters
Malaysian national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar. /Reuters

“All the suspects are members of the same (terror) cell, which is responsible for planning to launch terror attacks in strategic locations across Malaysia,” national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Jan. 24.

Bakar said police seized several items from the suspects’ homes, including ISIL flags and videos, jihad books and 30 types of bullets.

The seven Malaysians were detained over the past three days in a follow-up operation after the Jan. 15 arrest of a man who was planning a suicide attack in Kuala Lumpur, Bakar said.

Over the past two years, authorities in Malaysia have detained more than 150 people suspected of having ties to ISIL.

The suspect in the recent arrests who is thought to be the cell leader is a 31-year-old assistant housekeeping manager at a hotel in southern Johor state, Bakar said. One of the suspects received orders from Bahrom Naim, an Indonesian based in Syria who had a role in planning the Jan. 14 terror attacks in Jakarta.