KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 10 suspected terrorists, who planned to attack entertainment outlets in Melaka and Penang, have been detained following major operations in seven states.
They were arrested by the Federal Police Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Selangor, Pahang, Johor, Terengganu, Melaka, Kelantan and Penang, in an operation held between Aug 11 and Aug 31.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the suspects from two separate groups had intended to join a terrorist group from the Middle Eastern and launch attacks on entertainment outlets in Melaka and Penang.
“The first series of arrests were conducted on five men aged between 39 and 53, who are members of the Asoib terror cell in Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Terengganu.
“They planned to combine with another terror group in a middle-eastern country to launch an attack on its bordering country.
“The cell would have been supplied with firearms upon arrival,” he said in a statement today.
He said one of the Asoib members had gone to the middle-eastern country to coordinate efforts on the terror groups’ impending strike against the bordering country, he added.
“This terror cell had wrongly misinterpreted the hadith (edict) and ended up believing that Imam Mahdi will come emerging in Mecca this year.
“They will then combine with the army of Imam Mahdi, as well as attack secular countries and the dajjal (an evil figure in Islam),” he said.
He said another five militants, aged between 18 and 50, from Ar Rayah terror cell, were detained by the police in Melaka, Kelantan and Penang on Aug 25 and Aug 31.
“The cell’s mastermind was planning to launch attacks on entertainment outlets in Melaka using smoke bombs. They believe using such bombs will cause a panic, and will then lead to heavy casualties. Five smoke bombs were also seized,” he said.
“Following the mastermind’s arrest in Melaka on Aug 25, the four remaining members were picked up in Kelantan and Penang on Aug 31.
“One of them, a 50-year-old foreigner has been active in promoting the terror cell’s propaganda through WhatsApp.
“The man’s role is to influence Ar Rayah militants to contribute in terms of funds to buy weapons and ammunition through WhatsApp group Ar Rayah Member,” he said.
He said the suspect were detained on suspicion of committing offences relating to terrorism under Chapter 6A of the Penal Code and would be investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).