Detained Malaysian hours away from Kuala Lumpur suicide attack
Published 17/01/2016 | 04:56
A Malaysian man has been detained just hours before planning to blow himself up at an entertainment venue in Kuala Lumpur, authorities have said.
The 28-year-old insurance salesman from north-east Terengganu state was arrested at a monorail station in the capital. National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said he confessed to planning to blow himself up in an attack after receiving orders from members of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
The arrest came after authorities had raised the alert level in the city, following bombings in neighbouring Indonesia.
A government official said he was seized only hours before his planned suicide attack at an entertainment spot - either a karaoke bar or a pub.
Mr Khalid said the man had also had been hanging IS flags in several Malaysian states to oppose the government's crackdown on the militant group within the country. "Weapons and IS documents" were seized by police.
Police have raised the security alert to the highest level following the deadly attacks in Jakarta on Thursday. Security has been increased at public places such as shopping malls and tourist spots, with extra precautions taken at border areas to prevent any infiltration by militants, Mr Khalid said.
Federal territories minister Adnan Mansor said militant groups were targeting popular tourist destinations and shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur.
"The threats are there and we are very well aware of this, so we are on standby for any possible event," he said. He said the motive was to destabilise popular tourist countries and create fear, as in Jakarta.
Meanwhile three Malaysians were detained on arrival at Kuala Lumpur's airport after Turkey repatriated the two men and one woman on November 16 for trying to sneak into Syria allegedly to join IS.
They were recruited through Facebook and the Telegram phone messaging service by a Malaysian man who had joined the militant group in Syria, Mr Khalid said.
Malaysian authorities have detained more than 150 suspects linked to IS over the past two years, including some who were allegedly plotting attacks in strategic areas in Kuala Lumpur.