KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 – Malaysian authorities have arrested 13 people believed to be part of cells linked to Daesh, the inspector-general of police said on Thursday.
The suspects were caught in an anti-terror sting launched on Wednesday, the latest arrests in an ongoing operation to clamp down on the spread of militancy in the Muslim-majority country.
The Malaysian police also confiscated Daesh-linked documents during the raid, inspector general Khalid Abu Bakar said in a Twitter posting.
The announcement of the arrests was made after Khalid said in an interview, published on Thursday by local daily The Star, that police will set up a counter-terrorism unit in every state in the country.
Khalid said in the interview that the deadly Brussels airport attack made it clear that Malaysian authorities have to take action “on the slightest information” and that they “cannot afford to wait and see” if there could be an actual attack.
Malaysia has been on high alert since Daesh-linked militants carried out an armed attack in Jakarta, Indonesia on January 14.
Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said earlier this month that the police had foiled a Daesh plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib Razak and other senior ministers last year.
Malaysia has arrested at least 160 people since January 2015 on suspicion of being involved in militant activities, including seven believed to have been part of a Daesh cell.