KUALA LUMPUR: The six Islamic State (IS) militants detained in Johor targeted specific police personnel at the state and district police headquarters, says Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
“We cannot reveal who their targets were, but I can confirm they were targeting a few police personnel and officers in Johor.
“The police got the situation under control by nabbing the militants before they could strike,” he told a press conference after attending the 211th Police Day celebrations at the Police Training Centre here yesterday.
Mohamad Fuzi said the remnants of the militant group were now being hunted down.
“One of those arrested was a cleaner who works in Singapore, so the terror cell might have planned attacks there as well. We are working with the Singaporean authorities on this aspect,” he said.
During the celebrations, police personnel performed counter-terrorism demonstrations, including a re-enactment of the IS attack on the Movida nightclub here in 2016.
It was reported that six IS militants who were planning attacks on several houses of worship in Johor Baru, besides targeting the police officers, had been arrested.
The suspects were picked up by the Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division.
“They were caught mere days before they could launch simultaneous attacks on non-Muslim houses of worship, as well as kidnapping and killing police personnel.
“The terror cell also had Counter-Terrorism officers on their ‘hit list’,” a source told The Star yesterday.
It is learnt that the terror cell had acquired weapons from Thailand.
“They had been active since early last year and were taking orders from another terror cell in a neighbouring country.
“Authorities believe remnants of the terror cell are still at large and hiding in the northern part of the country,” another source said.
Mohamad Fuzi said police also arrested a 31-year-old Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) member in Sabah on March 15.
“The Filipino man is a trusted lieutenant of Furuji Indama, the ASG leader based in Basilan.
“We believe the suspect has connections to Malaysian militant Dr Mahmud Ahmad (who was killed in Marawi) and was also wanted by the Philippines for his involvement in a kidnap-for-ransom syndicate,” he said.
Mohamad Fuzi added that the suspect was an expert in making improvised explosive devices.