Malaysian police have arrested 12 people linked to the jihadist group Islamic State for allegedly plotting to attack government targets in and around the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Security was heightened in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday as leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) started arriving in the capital for a summit, which officially opens on Monday, the Guardian reported.
It remains unclear, however, if the planned attacks were linked to the summit, where Malaysia aims to call for regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
The male suspects, aged 17 to 41, were arrested over the weekend in the suburbs of Ulu Langat and Cheras, the newspaper quoted police chief Khalid Abu Bakar as saying. Explosives were seized from the suspects.
The men were plotting attacks on “strategic targets and governmental interests around the Klang Valley”, he said.
Authorities said Islamic State had called on supporters to launch attacks on secular Islamic countries seen as “enemies” of the militant group. Previous arrests of suspected IS militants were another reason behind the intended attacks, police said.
The seized explosives included 20 kilograms of ammonium nitrate and 20 kg of potassium nitrate, police said.
Malaysia has not seen any significant militant attacks but has arrested 92 citizens on suspicion of links to Islamic State.
At least 39 Malaysians reportedly traveled to Syria and Iraq apparently to join the militant group, the report said.
– Contact us at [email protected]