On Wednesday, Malaysian police said that they have arrested three militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group for planning attack in a Batu Caves’ Hindu temple, police stations and entertainment outlets around the country.
They were reportedly plotting an attack on Tuesday; the eve of Malaysian Independent day celebration.The Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division arrested them in the city, Pahang and Selangor between August 27 and 29.
The trio includes, a 20 year old lorry driver, who was arrested last Saturday in Selangor with a hand grenade and a 9mm pistol with 24 bullets. On Monday other two were arrested, a 20 year old drink seller nabbed in Kuala Lumpur and a 27 year old butcher arrested in Pahang. They were planning to go to Syria once they managed to attack the targets.
The three suspects had been getting orders from Islamic State militant Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, a Malaysian known to be fighting with Islamic State in Syria and is seen as the man responsible for ordering a grenade attack in June on a bar on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Islamist group’s first successful assault in Malaysia.
Nine people who were believed to have Islamic State links were arrested in the aftermath of the grenade attack.
Earlier this month, Malaysia canceled the passports of 68 Malaysians, who have identified as leaving the country to join Islamic State. Police intelligence said in March that 18 Malaysians had been killed while fighting with the group in Syria, and that seven others were killed carrying out suicide attacks for the group.
There have not been any reports of Malaysian Islamic State fighters returning home.
Authorities in Muslim majority Malaysia have been on high alert since Islamic State-linked militants carried out an armed attack in the capital of neighboring Indonesia in January.
In June, Islamic State released a video of its fighters from Southeast Asia calling on its supporters to unify under one umbrella group and launch attacks in the region.
A total of 230 people, including 200 Malaysians, were arrested between 2013 and early August this year for involvement in militant activities linked to Islamic State.