KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian counter-terrorism officials arrested six suspects between Mar 24 and Apr 25, 2017 for alleged involvement in activities linked to the Islamic State militant group, authorities said on Wednesday (May 3).
The six - four men and two women - are all Malaysian citizens.
"One male suspect was arrested on Apr 25 in Penang," said Malaysia’s Inspector-General of police Khalid Abu Bakar ." He is aged 41, unemployed and has been actively promoting Daesh (IS) through his 15 Facebook accounts since 2014. He also planned to launch an attack on a Shia mosque in Penang."
A senior counter-terrorism source told Channel NewsAsia the mosque is located on the busy Chulia street in Penang.
Two other men, aged 26 and 41, were arrested in Kelantan for smuggling arms from southern Thailand into Malaysia.
“The two men abetted in the activities of smuggling weapons from southern Thailand to be used by IS terrorists in Malaysia,” said Khalid.
According to the source, the two suspects had purchased a total of seven guns - five of which have been brought to Kuala Lumpur.
Another suspect from the same cell, Muhammad Muzaffa Arieff bin Junaidi, 27, evaded arrest by escaping to southern Thailand armed with three guns - a pistol and two M4 carbine assault rifles.
Another unemployed man, 41, who had previously been involved with IS, was arrested in Malacca while a 32-year-old female assistant mechanic in a factory in Johor was arrested for promoting IS through Google+.
A 26-year female student was also arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Apr 4 for attempting to enter Syria, via Turkey, to join IS.
“The suspect, who is taking a course in medical laboratory science at a private college in Klang Valley, went to Turkey on Aug 29, 2016 with the aim of joining IS in Syria,” said Khalid. “On Feb 5, the suspect was held by Turkish authorities while she was waiting for instructions from Muhammad Wandy Mohamed Jedi, a Malaysian IS militant, to slip into Syria."
FEMALE STUDENT CONTACTED IS MILITANT WANNDY
The female student had communicated with Malaysian militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi who she claimed cheated her out of some money, according to a counter-terrorism source.
Wanndy, who is wanted by Malaysian police and whom the US put on the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list in March, is believed to have faked his own death recently after he was found to have pocketed money from donations collected overseas meant for IS activities and is now wanted by the militant group with reports saying he faces execution.
“The subject (student) had contacted Wanndy to get directions to Syria and had also given Wanndy her bank account number,” the source told Channel NewsAsia.
“After discovering that the money she had deposited into her CIMB Bank account had been used by Wanndy, she felt cheated by him,” added the source.
It is unclear why the student gave Wanndy her account number.
Wanndy is allegedly behind a grenade attack at Movida nightclub that injured eight people in Selangor state last June, marking IS’ first attack in Malaysia. He is also known for recruiting Malaysians for IS and hatching terror plots to be launched in the country.
The student, who was recruited by IS through Facebook and WhatsApp, was also engaged to a fighter in Syria online.
“The subject got engaged to an IS fighter by the name of Muhammad Ismail Hosain. Ismail Hosain promised the student that he would make her his wife after she arrived in Syria,” said the source who gave no details of the fighter’s nationality.
According to Malaysian police, the student went to Turkey on Aug 29, 2016 in an attempt to cross in to Syria but was later caught by Turkish authorities.