Malaysia police say violent plot foiled ahead of Asean summit

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police have arrested 12 people linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and seized explosives, foiling a plan to attack several locations in and around the capital city just one day before the country hosts the Asean summit.

The male suspects, aged 17 to 41, were arrested on Saturday and Sunday from Ulu Langat and Cheras, suburbs near Kuala Lumpur, police chief Khalid Abu Baker said in a statement on Sunday.

The men were suspected of plotting attacks on “strategic targets and governmental interests around the Klang Valley”, he said.

The plans were in response to calls by ISIS to launch terrorist attacks on secular Islamic countries seen as “enemies of ISIS”.

Authorities said previous arrests of suspected ISIS militants was another reason behind the intended attacks.

The explosives seized included 20 kg of ammonium nitrate and 20 kg of potassium nitrate, the statement added.

Security was heightened in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday as Asean leaders started arriving in Kuala Lumpur for their summit, which opens officially on Monday.

But it was not clear whether any of the planned attacks were linked to the summit. At the summit, Malaysia aims to push for regional cooperation to fight terrorism.

The Southeast Asian country has not seen any significant militant attacks but has arrested 92 citizens on suspicion of links to ISIS. Authorities have identified 39 Malaysians in Syria and Iraq.