Syrian among trio nabbed following terror alert

Syrian among trio nabbed following terror alert
End of the road: Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division officers arresting one of the three suspected terrorists in Kuala Lumpur.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR - A Syrian man is among three suspected terrorists detained in the city after a terror alert issued by the US embassy and several others about a possible terror attack in Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang.

According to sources, the Syrian, a Malaysian and an Indonesian were picked up after officers of Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division raided a few places along Jalan Hang Tuah here on Thursday.

The suspects, aged between 30 and 51, were arrested between 6.30pm and 1.30am after the police received information from their foreign counterparts.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the police acted quickly to detain the suspects after the terror alert was issued.

"We are investigating the involvement of the suspects in the supposed terror threat in Jalan Alor," he said yesterday.

"It is still too early, so give us time to give details."

Noor Rashid said Bukit Aman co-operated with the police from several other countries in obtaining vital information, which led to the arrests.

"All three have been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012," he said.

"We are on top of things. We will not allow any terror attack to occur in Malaysia."

In a statement issued later, Noor Rashid said one of the suspects made frequent trips to Yemen and had returned to Malaysia a few days ago.

"The travel advisories issued by the foreign embassies are designed to ensure the safety of their citizens.

"We are in the midst of verifying whether the trio had planned to launch an attack in Malaysia," he said.

According to sources, checks at a house belonging to the Indonesian showed that he had, among other things, books on militancy.

"Among the books seized were some on Al-Qaeda and a book on the US army," one source said. "The suspect even had a US Desert Storm military uniform."

Another source said the Indone­sian was married to a woman from Yemen.

"He travelled frequently to Yemen," said the source, adding that the Counter Terrorism Division was always on alert for any possible threat to Malaysia.

"We cannot afford to dismiss any tip-off or information as human lives are at stake," said the source, adding that the current modus operandi for terror groups, especially the Islamic State (IS), was to order its members to launch attacks in their home countries.

"No longer are the IS militants required to go to Syria and fight with the main branch of the terror group there.

"The IS leadership is telling members to attack government structures and Western interests in their home countries."

On Thursday, the United States Embassy and Australian High Commission here issued travel advisories to their citizens on the possibility of terrorist attacks in Jalan Alor and its surrounding areas.

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