KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 – Malaysian police said on Wednesday they had arrested three local supporters of the Daesh militant group who had allegedly been planning several attacks in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, ahead of independence day celebrations.
The three men, detained in a three-day police operation on August 27-29, had allegedly received instructions from Malaysian Daesh fighter Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi to attack an entertainment centre, a Hindu temple and a police station on Tuesday on the eve of independence day celebrations.
“All three suspects were planning to leave for Syria to join the Daesh terrorist group … after successfully carrying out the attacks,” Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement.
Police said they had seized a grenade and a handgun with 24 bullets from one of the suspects, who works as a lorry driver. The two others worked as a butcher and a drinks seller.
Wanndy is a Malaysian known to be fighting with Daesh in Syria and is seen as the man responsible for ordering a grenade attack in June on a bar on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Islamist group’s first successful assault in Malaysia.
Police arrested nine people believed to have Daesh links in the aftermath of the grenade attack.
Earlier this month, Malaysia revoked the passports of 68 Malaysians who have been identified as leaving the country to join Daesh. Police intelligence reportedly said in March that 18 Malaysians had been killed while fighting with the group in Syria, and that seven others were killed carrying out suicide attacks for the group.
There have not been any reports of Malaysian Daesh fighters returning home.
Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been on high alert since Daesh-linked militants carried out an armed attack in the capital of neighboring Indonesia in January.
In June, Daesh released a video of its fighters from Southeast Asia calling on its supporters to unify under one umbrella group and launch attacks in the region.
A total of 230 people, including 200 Malaysians, were arrested between 2013 and early August this year for involvement in militant activities linked to Daesh.