KUALA LUMPUR: They were armed with six improvised explosive devices (IEDs) capable of killing thousands in the city if their plans had been successful.
These members of the Islamic State (IS) “wolf pack” cell were close to executing their plans, targeting four VIPs as well as non-Muslim houses of worship in the Klang Valley when officers from the Counter Terrorism Division (E8) swooped in and nabbed them as soon as the Ramadan month began.
Police believe the six IEDs were smuggled in from a neighbouring country.
Along with these, the police also seized a CZ9mm pistol and 15 bullets.
They were found in a house belonging to the cell’s mastermind and leader in Kuala Berang, Terengganu.
“They were close to conducting their attack as the IEDs were not complicated to operate,” said
newly appointed Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador.
“Had they been successful, it would have been devastating,” he added during a press conference at the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters yesterday.
“However, we managed to collect actionable intelligence that led to the arrests of the mastermind and three others,” he said.
Each of the 18cm-long IED takes only about seven seconds to detonate after it has been primed.
“It has a blast radius of 50m, capable of killing almost everyone within that area,” a source said.
Abdul Hamid said the terror cell was planning to “avenge” fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death.
Muhammad Adib died during a temple fracas months earlier.
“They also targeted the VIPs as they claimed that the four had failed to protect the sanctity of Islam and even insulted the religion with their actions,” he said, adding that the terror cell was formed in January.
Asked whether the four VIPs were politicians or celebrities, Abdul Hamid said such an information was sensitive to divulge.
“We are not ruling out the possibility that the terror cell was acting on orders from senior IS leaders in Syria,” he said.
This is not the first time that terrorists have targeted Malaysian VIPs.
A couple of years ago there were attempts to kidnap and assassinate Malaysian leaders, including the then prime minister and home minister, during Barisan Nasional’s administration.
The E8 Division sting on the terror cell began with the arrest of the local mastermind in Kuala Berang on May 5, followed by the second suspect – a 20-year-old Rohingya man – in Kuala Lumpur two days later.
“The suspect had a UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) card and he also admitted to joining the cell and supporting the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) terror group.
“He also planned to attack the Myanmar Embassy in the city and wanted to go to Rakhine to continue his false jihad,” Abdul Hamid said.
Two more suspects – a Rohingya man and an Indonesian man – were detained in Old Klang Road and Subang Jaya respectively, also on May 7.
The country’s top cop said police were tracking down three other members of the cell.
They are Malaysians Syazani Mahzan, 21, and Muhamad Nuurul Amin Azizan, 27, from Bedong, Kedah, as well as Indonesian Fatir Tir, whose last known address was in Banting, Selangor.
Abdul Hamid urged anyone with information to contact the E8 Investigating Officer ASP
S. Manivanan 017-327 8435 or any nearby police station.
“We will also take action against anyone who concealed any information or even harboured any of these wanted individuals,” he said.
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