Malaysian police have arrested seven suspected Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, including a man who threatened to assassinate both the Malaysian King and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
The arrests took place during a special operation in the states of Johor, Terengganu, Selangor and Perak between July 12 and Tuesday, federal police chief Moha-mad Fuzi Harun said in a statement yesterday.
Four of the suspects are Malaysians, while the remaining three are Indonesians.
Police arrested two Malaysians on Monday in Johor - a 42-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman.
The woman had transferred RM4,000 (S$1,348) to Muhammad Nasrullah Latif, also known as Abu Gomez, a Malaysian who joined the ISIS group in Syria. He died in March this year.
The male suspect had made threats on Facebook, saying that he would launch bomb attacks in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines after Hari Raya last month.
Prior to this, he had been in contact with Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, a Malaysian who was an ISIS member in Syria and the ringleader behind a bomb attack at a club in the KL suburb of Puchong on June 28, 2016.
Police in Skudai, Johor, on Tuesday arrested a 34-year-old unemployed Malaysian man, who is an ISIS supporter and threatened on his Facebook account to assassinate the King, Sultan Muhammad V, Tun Dr Mahathir and Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa because he felt they were not running the country according to Islamic syariah laws.
Ringleader and terror offshoot
MUHAMMAD WANNDY MOHAMED JEDI
The 26-year-old from Melaka was a militant leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Malaysia until he was killed in a drone attack in Syria in April last year.
Once the country's most-wanted militant, he left for Syria with his wife in 2014, and acted as the group's online recruiter and fund-raiser, updating his followers on Facebook on the activities of Malaysian militants fighting there. He had also been on a US list of global militants.
He also masterminded a grenade attack on a pub in the suburb of Puchong in Selangor on June 28, 2016 that injured eight people. That attack, carried out by two men on a motorcycle, was the first and so far only successful terrorist attack in Malaysia.
NEGARA ISLAM INDONESIA (NII)
Also known as the Islamic State of Indonesia, the group is an offshoot of the Darul Islam movement that was formed in the 1940s during Indonesia's fight for independence. Its members later took up arms against the government with a goal of creating an Islamic state, with more than 10,000 rebels at its height.
The group tried to assassinate Sukarno in 1957, and an ensuing government crackdown saw its leader captured in 1962 and executed. But members went underground, committing acts of terror and passing on their ideology to the next generation. Its ideology was later adopted by groups like the Jemaah Islamiah.
Members of the group most recently staged an attack on May 16 on the Riau police headquarters in the city of Pekanbaru in Sumatra. The attackers first slammed a minivan into a gate at the station, and then used samurai swords to attack officers. Four of the assailants and one police officer were killed in the attack.
A 21-year-old Malaysian factory worker was also arrested on Tuesday in Masai, Johor. He confessed to being an ISIS supporter and had planned to join the group in Syria.
On July 12 in Terengganu, police arrested a 26-year-old Indonesian.
He is a member of Negara Islam Indonesia, or the Islamic State of Indonesia, an offshoot of the Darul Islam movement whose members took up arms against the government with the goal of creating an Islamic state. He is said to have pledged allegiance to the group's leaders in Bandung, Indonesia, between 2015 and last year, and received weapons training in Bandung between 2015 and this year.
His wife, who is Malaysian, has also pledged allegiance to the group. The suspect had planned to take his wife and stepchildren to Syria to join ISIS.
A 27-year-old Indonesian contract worker was also arrested on July 12 in Petaling Jaya.
He confessed to being involved with ISIS, and possessed about 100 videos and 90 photos depicting ISIS activities in his mobile phone. He also promoted the group on his Facebook account by uploading videos and photos of it. He had been planning to go to Syria to join the militant group.
In Ipoh, a 42-year-old Indonesian factory worker was arrested last Saturday.
He admitted to having ties with a member of Indonesian extre-mist network Jemaah Ansharut Daulah who was involved in the murder of an Indonesian policeman on May 10 in Kelapa Dua, West Java.