KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's police chief said on Tuesday (Oct 17) five improvised explosive devices (IED) have been seized following last week's arrest of three men in the Malaysian state of Kelantan, who were plotting to attack the now-cancelled Better Beer Festival in Kuala Lumpur, The Star reported.
Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects arrested were a 19-year-old student, a 35-year-old former Army personnel and a 25-year-old contract worker.
They are believed to be Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants and were planning to use the IEDs against various targets in the country.
"The suspects had successfully detonated one of the bombs on Sept 28 in a clearing behind one of the suspect's house but another failed. We seized three other fully-assembled IEDs," Tan Sri Fuzi said.
"We believe each IED has a blast radius of 30m and are able to cause maximum damage," he told a press conference. "If they had managed to carry out their plans, it would have been devastating with many casualties," he said.
Among the items seized are the IEDs in the form of pipe bombs, six PVC pipes and instructions to make them.
"We are investigating where they got the expertise to make such bombs. We are not ruling out the possibly that they learnt it from other militants," he added.
The suspects had been targeting entertainment outlets and non-Muslim houses of worship in the Klang Valley as well as the Better Beer Festival, added the country's top cop. The festival, originally planned for Oct 6, was cancelled after protests from religious groups.
The IGP said initial investigations revealed the student and the former soldier were the brains behind the operation. The 25-year-old had connections with known militants Akel Zainal and the now-deceased Muhammad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi.
"The arrests prove that the threat to the beer festival was real. We do not simply advise against organising any event unless the threat is real," he added.
Separately, Fuzi also said that suspected Bangladeshi militant Golam Rabbani was successfully deported from Malaysia in July.
He said Golam was arrested following his suspected links to Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh, which is affiliated with ISIS.
The arrest and deportation was made in cooperation with Bangladeshi authorities. He added that Malaysia's police had done its part in deporting Golam and the matter was now under the jurisdiction of the Bangladeshi authorities.
It is learnt that Golam was deported on July 19 and he is now under the custody of a Bangladeshi security agency.
Fuzi was responding to media reports that Golam has gone "missing" after being deported.
Bangladesh daily the Dhaka Tribune reported that Golam last spoke to his wife, Nazia Ferdousi, who is still in Malaysia, on July 19 when he was getting ready to take off on a Malindo Air flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka.
However, officials at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka claimed they had no knowledge that Golam had arrived, reported the daily.
According to the Dhaka Tribune, an official at the Bangladesh police headquarters, who requested anonymity, had confirmed that Golam was deported from Malaysia but could not say which agency picked him up at the airport.