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M'sia navy checks on staff after officer's arrest over terror activities

The Royal Malaysian Navy is conducting background checks on all its employees, after a naval officer and two men were arrested for harbouring militants and planning terror attacks in Iraq and Syria.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Malaysian Navy is conducting background checks on all its employees, after a naval officer and two men were arrested for harbouring militants and planning terror attacks in Iraq and Syria.

The militants are said to have links with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East, and the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.

The 30-year-old Malaysian was described as an exemplary serviceman and had contributed 10 years to the Malaysian navy.

The latest arrests are a wake-up call for Malaysian authorities -- that regional terror networks are using social media to recruit young people to join their jihadist cause.

One such militant recruit was 26-year-old Malaysian Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki.

He reportedly drove a military vehicle carrying explosives into Iraq's SWAT headquarters, killing 25 elite Iraqi soldiers and himself in the process.

It is not known how many young Malaysians like Tarmimi have been radicalised and trained by militant groups such as ISIL.

ISIL was set up in 2013 and has become the most well-funded and extreme jihadist group in the world.

The Malaysian Police Counter Terrorism Unit has arrested 15 suspects linked to ISIL.

It is also investigating the extent of ISIL operations in Malaysia.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malaysia’s minister for home affairs, said: "We have received information. The minute they set foot on our soil, they will be arrested, and legal actions will be taken."

Malaysia's security experts said it is facing a growing security threat from international terrorists using it as a base.

Ahmad Zahid warned that the government will be tough in the hunting and capture of people suspected of militant or terrorist activities in Malaysia. 

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