KUALA LUMPUR: Ten Malaysians have been arrested for fostering suspected links with the Islamic State (IS) group and planning attacks in the country, police said.
Malaysia’s national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said late on Thursday that the 10 individuals were allegedly “planning to obtain weapons to launch attacks in the country and arrange logistics for Malaysians to join the IS in Syria.”
He did not elaborate on details of the alleged attack plots.
The eight men and two women, aged between 24 and 42, were arrested on Wednesday in various parts of the Muslim-majority country, according to an official statement.
Among the 10 were a kindergarten teacher, a former interior designer and two civil servants. The remaining six suspects were members of state security forces, police said.
Authorities say dozens of Malaysians have travelled to Syria to fight in the civil war there, and have warned of radicals returning home to stage attacks.
Over the past year, police have arrested numerous suspects whom they say were IS sympathizers plotting such attacks.
However, opposition lawmakers say authorities have been reluctant to share information regarding the arrests or provide details about potential terror threats.
Senior counter-terrorism official Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told Agence France-Presse in June that authorities had so far arrested 108 people who had suspected links to IS or were trying to travel to Syria or Iraq.
Muslim-majority Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam and has not seen any notable terror attacks in recent years.
But concern has risen in the multi-faith nation over growing hardline Islamic views and the country’s potential as a militant breeding ground.