Malaysian authorities have arrested three men for suspected links with the Islamic State militant group, police said on Tuesday. Muslim-majority Malaysia has been on high alert since an attack last January by Islamic State-linked militants in Jakarta, the capital of neighbouring Indonesia. Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said the suspects were detained in three separate raids from January 27 to January 29. Police also confiscated a shotgun and an air rifle. Khalid did not identify the suspects but said one of them, a 38-year-old Malaysian, had posted a plan to carry out a bomb attack in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, on his Facebook page.
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Another of the suspects is an Indonesian with Malaysian residency working as security guard with the national carrier, Malaysian Airlines. He and the third suspect, another Malaysian, were believed to have been planning to join Islamic State militants in Syria, Khalid said. The three face charges of suspected involvement in terrorism, he said.
Malaysia has not seen a serious militant attack but authorities say they have disrupted several plots. Seven people were wounded in a grenade blast at a bar near Kuala Lumpur in June, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
Malaysia has arrested more than 250 people between 2013 and 2016 for suspected militant activity linked to Islamic State.
According to police data, 91 Malaysians had gone to fight in the Middle East as of October last year. Of them, eight had returned to Malaysia and 24 had been killed in fighting there. Last week, authorities said they had arrested four people with links to an Islamic State cell based in the southern Philippines.