Civil servants, kindergarten teacher among 10 arrested in Malaysia with links to ISIS

Bukit Aman Counter Terrorism Division personnel detaining a suspected ISIS member on Wednesday. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysian police on Thursday said they had arrested and were investigating 10 Malaysians suspected of links to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), among them six members of the country's security forces.

The others arrested were two civil servants, a former interior designer and a kindergarten teacher.

Although the South-east Asian country has not seen any significant militant attacks, it has arrested nearly 100 citizens this year on suspicion of links to ISIS. Authorities have identified 39 Malaysians in Syria and Iraq.

"They are suspected to be involved in activities to promote the Islamic State ideology," police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement announcing the arrests.

These activities ranged from raising funds for the movement to recruiting Malaysians and planning to buy weapons for an attack in Malaysia, he added, but gave no details.

The suspects, who included two women and two civil servants, were arrested following an operation launched by the police anti-terrorism unit in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and five Malaysian states, the statement added.

A police spokesman did not immediately respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

Malaysian militants have used Facebook and other social media sites to lure recruits, attracting thousands of followers online.

Recruits now include young women and families, with domestic news reporting that a family of four had travelled to Syria, while a Malaysian female doctor's posts on Facebook on her life as a militant's wife in Syria have attracted wide attention.

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