IS terror cell members had no specific target Down Under

IS terror cell members had no specific target Down Under

KUALA LUMPUR - No specific target in Australia was identified by the three Islamic State-linked militants who were deported to Malaysia.

While it is still to early to be sure, initial investigations revealed that the trio - a terror cell leader and a married couple - did not have any target in Australia.

"The authorities have not uncovered any specific target in Australia set by the terror cell.

"For now, intelligence agencies be­­lieve that they (the terror cell mem­­­bers) used Australia as a transit point," a source told The Star yesterday.

Another source said investigations were being conducted to identify the trio's associates in Australia and Malaysia.

"It will take time to establish how they operated in sending militants to Syria and Iraq via Australia.

"The relevant agencies are looking at it closely to discover the extent of the terror operations in Australia," the source said.

Asked whether there was a connection between the terror cell and the Sydney hostage taker, a source said the authorities had not established it at this point.

Sources said the terror cell initially went to Melbourne to set up its network on Sept 29.

"It is still unclear whether they had gone to other cities or states in Australia," a source said.

The Star reported that a Malaysian suspected of leading an IS terror cell in Australia was detained after operating Down Under for three months.

The 29-year-old former factory supervisor had been running the cell since Sept 29 and even worked in Australia to mask his activities.

However, this only alerted the au­­tho­rities. He was arrested by Austra­lian immigration officers on Dec 28 for violating his social visit pass.

He was deported to Malaysia on Wednesday night and Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division officers were waiting for him at the KL International Airport.

Sources revealed that the man, who hails from Selangor, was arrested upon touching down at about 6am on Thursday.

Apparently, the terror cell also consisted of a Malaysian married couple, who were deported and arrested by the Malaysian authorities on Jan 7.

The arrest of the trio brings the number of people detained by the Bukit Aman division to 54 since last February.

Those arrested include civil ser­vants, navy and air force personnel and an officer attached to the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry.

A former National Service trainer, along with some private and public university students, were among the latest arrests made.

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