Middle East

Malaysia arrests eight over suspected terror links

Malaysia has arrested four foreigners and four Malaysians for suspected involvement in terrorist activities linked to Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State and Jemaah Islamiah, the police said on Saturday.

Among the foreigners arrested were three Filipinos, one of whom is a permanent resident in Malaysia, and an Albanian.

The arrests were made in the states of Sabah, Selangor and Perak between Sept. 27 and Oct. 6.

Five suspects were arrested in the Borneo state of Sabah, suspected of assisting the Abu Sayyaf militant group’s infiltration into Malaysia.

Police said the arrested Albanian, a law lecturer at a local public university, has contact with Islamic State.

Another two arrested are former convicts, previously found guilty in 2016 of participating in terrorist activities.

One was arrested under suspicion of recruiting convicts in prison and planning an attack on Muslim, Christian and Hindu places of worship in Malaysia. The suspect is also said to harbor information about a member of the Tanzim Al-Qaeda Malaysia, a group linked to Jemaah Islamiah, who remains at large.

The other was an accomplice suspected of recruiting two Malaysians.

Malaysia has arrested hundreds of people over the past few years for suspected links to militant groups.

The Southeast Asian country has been on high alert since suicide bombers and gunmen linked to Islamic State launched multiple attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia, in January 2016.

A grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in June last year wounded eight people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, the first such attacks on Malaysian soil.

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