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Malaysia nabs weapons handler for militant group planning attacks in Iraq, Syria

Published on Jun 19, 2014 11:19 AM
 
Members of Bukit Aman Counter Terrorism Division detaining a man after raiding his home in Kampung Kelebor in Kuala Kangsar. The 25-year-old man is believed to be the weapons handler for a militant group linked to the group waging wars in Syria and Iraq. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Police have arrested the suspected weapons handler for a militant group that was planning to carry out suicide bombings and attacks in Syria and Iraq.

Bukit Aman's Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division arrested the 25-year-old man in an operation at a house in Kampung Kelebor, Kuala Kangsar, at about 2pm on Wednesday.

The latest arrest brings the number of those arrested from the group to 16. They were linked to a rebel group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in the Middle East and the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Zinin said police also seized a home-made rifle and 48 bullets.

"We believe the weapon was used by the militant group for training purposes.

"Initial investigations revealed that the militant group was training their members at Gunung Arang Para in Kampung Nyior Ketior, Kuala Kangsar, in December last year," he said.

He added that the suspect is believed to be heavily involved in terror-linked activities and was being detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.

A source said the arrest of the weapons handler was a big blow to the militants' operations. It is learnt that among the man's roles was to hide weapon caches for the militant group.

The source said police believe there could be more weapons to be found.

"The man is a very close friend of the 30-year-old main suspect arrested in Sandakan last week," the source added.

It is learnt that the grounds at Gunung Arang Para was used for two days last December by at least 10 militant members for weapons training.

"Other than Kuala Kangsar, the group also used a training site in Port Dickson. The militant group is all over the country ... there could be more training sites," the source said.

It is learnt that the militants also trained in southern Philippines and made their way to Sabah and later planned to fly to Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS was carrying out persistent attacks to topple the existing regimes.

The source said the militant group's plan was to go to Syria and launch attacks before heading to Iraq for their "end game".

The Counter Terrorism Division has been rounding up members of the militant group since April 28.

The suspects were previously detained in Selangor, Kedah and Sabah. Among those arrested was a 30-year-old Royal Malaysian Navy officer.

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