KUALA LUMPUR - Six suspected Malaysian militants, including two army commandos, were detained in separate raids in Selangor, Perak and Johor while two more have been arrested as soon as they landed in KLIA.
The two commandos are believed to be Islamic State (IS) militants while the remaining six belonged to Tandzim Al-Qaeda.
According to sources, senior IS leaders in Syria have urged its members and followers to launch attacks in their respective home countries instead of heading for Syria.
"The terror group views most countries, including our own, as not a Muslim country. Instead, we are viewed as secular so they believe that attacks against the country are warranted.
"The authorities are always on guard for such an eventuality," a source said.
Among the targets of IS militants are government infrastructure in the Klang Valley and anything with western interest.
The suspects, aged between 22 and 36, were detained in simultaneous swoops in the three states by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division on Friday.
This brings the total number of people arrested for militancy since February 2013 to 136, including 15 from the armed forces.
Sources revealed that the two 28-year-old army commandos based in a camp in Malacca were responsible for spreading IS ideology among fellow soldiers.
"Authorities believe the two men are actively recruiting for IS. They are also closely connected to two other commandos arrested on Aug 19 for promoting the ideology of the terror group.
"They were detained while on operation in Perak," a source said.
It is learnt the soldiers wanted to eventually go to Syria.
"Intercepted messages among the soldiers revealed that they were also eager to use their skills in battle," another source said.
The others detained in the swoop were six Tandzim Al-Qaeda members. One was detained in Pasir Gudang, Johor while three others were detained in Sungai Buloh.
The remaining two, aged 24 and 33, were detained in Lebanon on Oct 18, 2012, for trying to smuggle themselves into Syria to join the terror group.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the suspects were escorted back to Malaysia by a special squad from the Counter Terrorism Division on Oct 30 and were arrested once upon arrival at KLIA.
"The 24-year-old was a former civil servant from Selangor while the 33-year-old was an electrician in Kuala Lumpur," he said.
According to sources, the duo have been identified as Muhamad Razin Sharhan Mustafa Kamal and Razif Mohd Ariff.
They were arrested at the Beirut International Airport and found guilty of involvement with the terror group and subsequently served their sentence in Lebanon.
"Although they have served sentences in Lebanon, they still have to face other charges here," a source said.
It is believed the two were connected to former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Yazid Sufaat, as part of a Malaysian cell of Tandzim Al-Qaeda. The IGP said the suspects were detained under the Security Measures Act (Special Measures) 2012.