Saudi King the target for Yemeni suspects

An alleged militant being led away by Malaysian police after a raid last month. The four Yemeni suspects behind a planned attack were nabbed in these operations.
An alleged militant being led away by Malaysian police after a raid last month. The four Yemeni suspects behind a planned attack were nabbed in these operations.PHOTO: ROYAL MALAYSIA POLICE

Assault intended during state visit to Malaysia, say police

GEORGE TOWN • Four Yemenis who were nabbed by Malaysian police last month were planning to harm the Saudi Arabian King and his entourage who visited Malaysia last week, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday.

The Inspector-General of Police added that the terror suspects were also involved in a syndicate specialising in falsifying travel documents and drug distribution.

"Four Yemenis, apart from their role in producing false travel documents, were also involved in distributing drugs," he told a news conference in Penang.

"They were also planning to attack the Arab royalty during their visit to Kuala Lumpur.

"We got them in the nick of time. Thank God, they didn't get close."

The four Yemeni suspects were arrested as part of multiple raids conducted by the Counter Terrorism Division from Feb 21 to 26, with three others - a Malaysian, an Indonesian and a citizen from an East Asian country - also nabbed.

STOPPED IN THE NICK OF TIME

Four Yemenis, apart from their role in producing false travel documents, were also involved in distributing drugs. They were also planning to attack the Arab royalty during their visit to Kuala Lumpur. We got them in the nick of time.

POLICE CHIEF KHALID ABU BAKAR, speaking at a news conference in Penang.

The Yemeni nationals, aged between 26 and 33, were detained on Feb 26 in Cyberjaya, a town outside Kuala Lumpur that is popular with foreign students as many universities are located there.

One of them worked as a cook at a restaurant specialising in Yemeni dishes, another was a student at a private university and the last two were jobless.

"Their work and university backgrounds were just a ruse to conceal the syndicate forging travel documents," a source told The Star previously, adding that the Yemenis had been in Malaysia for about five years.

According to the source, the authorities received intelligence on the Yemenis barely days before the Saudi royal visit and managed to arrest the suspects in time.

King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived in Malaysia on Feb 26 for a four-day visit, his first to the country since ascending the throne in January 2015.

The visit saw the signing of several agreements, including a US$7 billion (S$9.9 billion) deal by Saudi oil company Aramco to buy a stake in a Johor oil refinery being built by Malaysia's national petroleum company Petronas.

Police had said on Sunday that last month's raids foiled a plan to launch a large-scale car bomb attack using a "vehicle-borne improvised explosive device", before the suspects would leave for Syria to join terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).

The Malaysian and Indonesian, police added, were part of an ISIS cell that received instructions from Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi - a known Malaysian ISIS fighter in Syria.

The East Asian national, whom the New Straits Times reported to be an ethnic Uighur from China, had a fake student visa.

Malaysia last year nabbed 115 terror suspects, most of them supporters of ISIS.

The country also recorded its first terror attack in June last year, when two men threw a grenade into a nightspot in Puchong, Selangor, injuring eight people.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'Saudi King the target for Yemeni suspects'. Print Edition | Subscribe