KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian authorities yesterday said they had foiled a bomb attack on top police officers and arrested 14 suspected Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operatives in a week-long operation.
The suspects included a senior ISIS member from Kedah believed to be responsible for recruiting Malaysian militant Abu Ghani Yaacob, who was killed in Syria on April 17, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement.
The 49-year-old Kedah man attracted new recruits by inviting them to religious study groups in secret.
"Based on a search, police managed to seize one completed IED (improvised explosive device) weighing 1kg, (meant) for use in a planned attack on the top PDRM leadership," Tan Sri Khalid said, using the Malay acronym for the Royal Malaysian Police.
The IED was found at a home in Sungai Buloh on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
One of the suspects was believed to have passed on bomb-making instructions at the behest of a Malaysian ISIS recruiter based in Syria identified as Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi.
This suspect claimed "to (have received) orders from Muhammad Wanndy to make an IED for attacks in the Klang Valley", Mr Khalid said.
The suspect confessed to sharing knowledge of how to make IEDs with other militants through the Telegram phone app.
"Muhammad Wanndy also promised to supply him with a pistol to defend himself against the police," Mr Khalid said.
Malaysia's security agencies are on guard against ISIS spreading in the Muslim-majority but multi- ethnic South-east Asian nation.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this year that the police had foiled an ISIS plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib Razak and other senior ministers last year.
The terror group carried out its first successful attack in Malaysia last month, with two men on a motorcycle throwing an explosive device into a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor, injuring a dozen people.
Malaysian police said this month that 186 Malaysians and 27 foreigners have been detained to facilitate investigations into terror groups including ISIS.
They included 15 people who were nabbed in connection with the attack on the pub.
Officials estimated months ago that nearly 50 Malaysians had joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
The police said yesterday that among the newest batch of arrested militants was a 43-year-old woman who was planning to sneak into the southern Philippines to join the ISIS-aligned Abu Sayyaf group.
The 14 suspects are aged between 20 and 49, and include cooks, a mechanic, a welder and a student.
The police did not identify any of them.
REUTERS , THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK