KUALA LUMPUR: Two Iraqis believed to be commanders of Islamic State (IS) in southern Iraq were among 19 suspects arrested by Malaysian police in a sting operation across the country from Jul 4 to Aug 30.
The two Iraqis, aged 41 and 63, are brothers and were arrested as they are believed to be commanders of IS, also known as Daesh, in southern Iraq, said Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun in a statement.
“They (brothers) worked as technicians and were arrested as they are suspected to be commanders of Daesh in southern Iraq,” said IGP Fuzi.
There were no further details.
A 25-year-old Bangladeshi suspect, linked to the radical Jamaat ul-Mujahideen which is also sometimes called Jamatul Mujahideen (JMB), was arrested on Jul 4 in Shah Alam, Selangor state. The terror group was behind the attack on Dhaka’s Holey Artisan Bakery in 2016.
The suspect worked as a temporary teacher for a Quran reading school called Maahad Tahfiz Gombak. He is wanted by Bangladeshi police for his alleged involvement in JMB. He is believed to have entered Malaysia on Sep 4, 2016.
Twenty-two people, including 17 foreigners, were killed in the brutal late-night attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka on Jul 1, 2016. Six of the attackers were killed by security forces.
JMB is a terror organization that is also behind a wave of attacks against Bangladesh’s secularists in 2016.
EIGHT LINKED TO ABU SAYYAF
The operation also netted eight men for links to the Abu Sayyaf Group on Aug 30. Two of the men are Filipinos while six of the men are Malaysians.
One of the Filipinos, aged 25, is believed to have been planning to launch an attack during the closing ceremony of the recently concluded SEA Games.
The suspect was earlier reported to be Hajar Abdul Mubin alias Abu Asrie by The Star.
“Information exposes that the detained suspect was planning to launch attacks during the SEA Games closing ceremony at National Stadium Bukit Jalil and during the National Day Celebrations at Dataran Merdeka,” said IGP Fuzi.
“The suspect has been involved in fighting with Philippines military, kidnapping of six Filipino hostages and beheading a Christian hostage in 2010,” IGP Fuzi added.
He said the suspect had also met with Dr Mahmud Ahmad, the right hand man of Abu Sayyaf’s pro-IS faction leader Isnilon Hapilon, in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan island, southern Philippines.
SUSPECTS OF MANY NATIONALITIES
Two Maldives nationals, aged 29 and 33, working as air conditioners technicians, were arrested for allegedly using Malaysia and Singapore as transit points before going to Syria to join Islamic State.
One Malaysian was arrested for possessing Islamic State literature while another Malaysian was arrested for promoting Islamic State through his Facebook account.
Also arrested was a Palestinian planning to join IS in southern Philippines while another Iraqi suspect was arrested for his involvement with an Albanian terror group with links to IS.
Two Indonesian traders, aged 29 and 47, were arrested for recruiting members for IS to go to Syria.