KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 10 suspected terrorists, who planned to attack entertainment outlets in Melaka and Penang, have been detained following major swoops in seven states.
They were arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Selangor, Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Melaka, Kelantan and Penang, in an operation held between Aug 11 and Aug 31.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the first series of arrests were conducted on five men aged between 39 and 53, who are members of the Asoib terror cell in Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Terengganu.
“They planned to combine with another terror group in a middle-eastern country to launch an attack on a bordering country.
“The five men planned to head to the middle-eastern country and they are expected to be well-equipped by the terror group there,” he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 14).
One of the Asoib members had even gone to the middle-eastern country to coordinate efforts on the terror groups’ impending strike against the bordering country, he added.
“This terror cell had wrongly misinterpreted the hadith (edict)and ended up believing that Imam Mahdi will come emerging in Mecca this year.
“They will then combine with the army of Imam Mahdi, as well as attack secular countries and the dajjal (evil person),” the IGP said.
Another five militants, aged between 18 and 50, were detained by the police in Melaka, Kelantan and Penang on Aug 25 and Aug 31, he added.
“This group is known as the Ar Rayah terror cell.
“The cell’s mastermind was planning to launch attacks on entertainment outlets in Melaka using smoke bombs. They believe using such bombs will cause a panic, and will then lead to heavy casualties,” he said, adding that five smoke bombs were also seized.
The country’s top cop said the mastermind was arrested in Melaka on Aug 25, while the four remaining members were picked up in Kelantan and Penang on Aug 31.
“One of the suspects - a 50-year-old foreigner from a South-East Asian country - is active in promoting the terror cell’s propaganda on a WhatsApp group dubbed “Ar Rayah Member”.
“The same man is also a member of a South-East Asian terror group. He is also influencing Ar Rayah militants to contribute in terms of funds and weapons to this other terror group,” he said.
All suspects have been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the IGP said.