Malaysian police on Friday released a list of 45 foreigners arrested since January for suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) or other terror groups, a marked increase in arrests of alleged “foreign terrorist-fighters” compared with previous years.
The suspects include nationals from as far away as Iraq, Turkey, Albania, Yemen, the Maldives and China as well as from nearby countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, Police Inspector-General Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.
Some of these suspects with links to IS, including three Iraqis, were once based in Iraq or Syria, where the extremist group’s main strongholds have been losing ground to government offensives, the Malaysian police chief indicated.
“They have been ordered to infiltrate to several countries around the world to launch attacks for Daesh,” Fuzi said, using a different term for IS.
He credited cooperation and intelligence sharing with foreign intelligence and enforcement agencies in leading to the arrests.
“The Royal Malaysia Police will continue to take action against foreign terror elements to thwart any planned attacks on Malaysia,” Fuzi said.
Those 45 suspects arrested through Oct. 6 include nine Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, three from Turkey’s Fetullah, one from an Albanian terror cell linked with Islamic State, and another from Bangladesh’s Jamaatul Mujahideen, he said.
“The remaining 31 foreign terrorist fighters from multiple countries are believed to be involved with IS, including three Iraqi-national foreign terrorist fighter who are commanders of IS in southern Iraq,” he said.
Thirteen were charged under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) and 12 others were deported to their country of origin. Police identified and released photos of the 25.
The three Turks – Turgay Karaman, Ihsan Aslan, and Ismet Ozcelik – were arrested in May on suspicion of threatening Malaysia’s national security. Malaysian police said they belonged to the Fetullah group led by a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fetullah Gulen, and which Turkey had branded a terrorist organization.
Full story: BenarNews
Hata Wahari and N. Natha
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