Three militants from the dreaded Islamic State terror group have been arrested in Malaysia for allegedly plotting attacks on a famous Hindu temple in Batu Caves, entertainment outlets and police stations across the country on the eve of Independence Day.
They were arrested by the Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division in the city, Selangor and Pahang between August 27 and August 29, police said on Wednesday.
The three men were reportedly planning an attack on a Hindu temple, an entertainment centre, and a police station on Tuesday on the eve of the country’s Independence Day celebrations, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said.
Batu Caves are home to famous Hindu temple and shrines dedicated to Lord Murugan.
“The first suspect, a 20-year-old man, was detained in Selangor on August 27 with a K75 grenade and a pistol along with 9mm bullets. We believe he obtained the weapons from a middleman,” Khalid said in a statement.
The two other suspects, aged 27 and 20, were detained on August 29.
“They were planning to go to Syria once they managed to attack the targets,” he added.
Police said they had seized a grenade and a handgun with 24 bullets from one of the suspects, who works as a lorry driver. The two others worked as a butcher and a drinks seller.
Khalid said the three suspects had been receiving orders from Islamic State militant Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, a Malaysian known to be fighting with Islamic State in Syria and is seen as the man responsible for ordering a grenade attack in June on a bar on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Islamist group’s first successful assault in Malaysia.
Earlier in August, Malaysia revoked the passports of 68 Malaysians who have been identified as leaving the country to join Islamic State. Police intelligence reportedly said in March that 18 Malaysians had been killed while fighting with the group in Syria, and that seven others were killed carrying out suicide attacks for the group.