KUALA LUMPUR: Members of a terror cell which believes that the prophesied Imam Mahdi will emerge in Mecca this year have been arrested in several parts of the country along with militants of another group targeting entertainment joints in Melaka and Penang.
They are the Asoib and the Ar Rayah militant groups.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the first arrests involved the Asoib cell in Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Terengganu, where five were arrested between Aug 11 and Aug 31.
The Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division also rounded up five members of the Ar Rayah militant group in Melaka, Kelantan and Penang between Aug 25 and Aug 31, he added.
“The Asoib terror cell had misinterpreted the hadith (edict) and ended up believing that Imam Mahdi will come emerging in Mecca this year,” said Mohamad Fuzi.
He said the militants had planned to link up with the “army of Imam Mahdi” to attack secular countries and the dajjal (evil person).
One Asoib member had even gone to a Middle Eastern country to coordinate efforts on the terror groups’ attacks, he added.
“They had expected to be well equipped by the terror group there.”
On the Ar Rayah terror cell, the IGP said the group’s mastermind had planned to launch attacks on entertainment outlets in Melaka using smoke bombs.
“They believe using such bombs will cause panic and lead to heavy casualties,” he said, adding that five smoke bombs were also seized.
It is learnt that the group was also targeting entertainment outlets in Penang.
Mohamad Fuzi said the mastermind was arrested in Malacca on Aug 25 while his 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 named ‘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 terror group,” he said.
All suspects have been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, the IGP said.
Since February 2013, 425 militants have been detained and multiple terror attacks thwarted by the Counter Terrorism Division.