10 Islamic State members nabbed in Malaysia

Nationwide swoop: Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division personnel arresting an IS member.

KUALA LUMPUR - Six security forces personnel are among 10 Islamic State (IS) members detained in a massive swoop around the country.

The suspects - eight men and two women - were arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Perlis, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan and Malacca on Wednesday.

Sources said the terror cell had planned to attack government entities as well as various interests held by Western countries.

"Some of them planned to buy weapons, including an AK-47 rifle.

"Authorities believe that the suspects were planning to attack certain buildings in the capital. These range from bombing to lone wolf attacks," said a source.

Another source revealed that the two women detained were wives of IS members already in police custody.

"Even while their husbands are behind bars, they have been actively recruiting and securing funds for the terror group. They used various ways, including Facebook, to lure more members into joining their cell," a source said.

It is believed that this particular cell had been getting orders directly from senior IS members in Syria.

"It is really a worrying trend when Malaysian IS members are no longer encouraged to go to Syria but are instead pushed to attack their own country.

"Any one of those arrested is capable of carrying out lone wolf attacks. It only takes one weapon - a rifle or even a pistol - for them to attack any target," said the source.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said those detained were ­suspected of spreading IS ideology, collecting funds to help the group and arranging for Malaysian IS members to go to Syria.

"We also believe that they were planning to acquire weapons so that they could launch attacks in Malaysia. Investigations also revealed that they have been helping returning IS fighters enter the country," he said in a statement here yesterday.

The suspects, added Khalid, would be investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

The latest arrests, including two civil ­servants, a former interior designer and a kindergarten teacher, bring the number of militants arrested in the country to 121 since February 2013.

The Counter Terrorism Division previously detained eight army personnel, three of whom have since been charged while three others are being held under the Prevention of Crime Act. Two others were freed due to lack of evidence.