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Islamic State Malaysia arrests 9 men over suspected terrorist links

The suspects included a primary school teacher, security guard and a veterinary clinic owner.

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Malaysian police (Illustration) play

Malaysian police (Illustration)

(The New York Times)

Nine Malaysian men have been arrested on suspicion of being linked to the Islamic State extremist group, the Police Inspector-General, Khalid Abu Bakar, said in a statement on Friday.

He said that the suspects included a primary school teacher, security guard and a veterinary clinic owner.

“The suspects were arrested between the March 15 and March 21 during counter-terrorism operations across five states.

“They are suspected of a range of terrorist activities spanning from plans to “launch an attack” on a local Malaysian police station to spreading Islamic State ideology on Facebook to recruiting new members.

“More than 200 suspected Malaysian Islamic State supporters have been arrested since the Muslim-majority country launched a crackdown on extremists in 2013,’’ Bakar said.

The Malaysian Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman, had attended a meeting in Washington of the US-led global coalition to defeat Islamic State.

Aman reaffirmed “Malaysia’s unequivocal support and commitment” to conquer the group.

He spoke of how the south-east Asian nation had been working to counter extremism by raising awareness among parents whose children could be vulnerable to radicalisation.

Malaysia has conducted regular anti-extremism operations in recent years.

The police had announced on Thursday that seven suspects, including five Filipinos, had been arrested for suspected Islamic State links.

Ahead of Malaysian Independence Day celebrations in August 2016, the police said they had foiled planned bomb attacks by militants on an entertainment centre in Kuala Lumpur, a famous Hindu temple and several police stations.

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