Malaysian police broaden hunt for members of ISIL-linked militant groups

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian police are hunting for the remaining members of the militant group which was planning to undertake suicide bombings and attack missions in Syria and Iraq.

The police are aware of the identities of the members of the group, within and outside the country, sources said.

Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, said: "We have always monitored and increased our efforts against these men (militants)."

Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said police would conduct thorough background checks on enforcement personnel to ensure they were not linked to any terrorist or militant groups.

"We are not saying that all security personnel have such links," he said on Monday.

"But, we want to weed out those who are."

Dr Ahmad Zahid was commenting on the fact that a Royal Malaysian Navy officer was one of three men arrested last Friday for allegedly being involved with a militant group.

They were detained in Sandakan, Sabah, over their plans to undertake suicide bombings in Syria and Iraq.

All three were linked to the rebel Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Middle East and the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.

The country's Counter-Terrorism Unit has arrested 15 members of the group since April 28.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said police was working with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to track down the militants using social media sites to recruit members.

Asked on action that could be taken against Malaysian militants in Syria, upon their return to Malaysia, Dr Ahmad Zahid said "such people belong behind bars".

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