2 terror attacks planned for January in Kelantan thwarted

End of the road: The honey seller (in red) being detained in Kelantan.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - The two terror plots, which were thwarted with the arrest of two suspected militants in Kelantan, were supposed to be carried out next month.

The intended targets were police stations in Kelantan as well as non-Muslim houses of worship.

Sources said both men - a 28-year-old honey seller and a 35-year-old driving school personnel - had planned to use improvised explosive device (IED) on their intended targets.

They were carrying out instructions from Akel Zainal, who has been fighting for the Islamic State (IS) in Syria since Jan 3, 2014.

"The honey seller was ordered by Akel to attack police stations in Kelantan as well as non-Muslim houses of worship in the Klang Valley. Authorities believed that he was acting as a lone wolf," a source said, adding that at the time of the arrest, preparations were about 60 per cent completed.

Meanwhile, the driving school personnel was also involved in smuggling firearms from a neighbouring country, another source said.

"He also learnt how to make IED. Authorities believed he was a member of IS since early last year," he said.

The men were among seven suspects arrested by the Counter Terrorism Division between Nov 19 and 28.

The other five militants are three Malaysians, including a woman, and two Filipino men. They were detained in Sabah, Selangor and Kedah.

One of the Filipino men is a 45-year-old member of the Abu Sayyaf group.

It was learnt that the suspect, who was detained in Tawau, had been hiding in Sabah since 2011.

"Authorities believed he was acting as a scout for potential kidnap-for-ransom targets for the group," said a source.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun had said that he was involved in at least three kidnap-for-ransom incidents in southern Philippines and Sabah besides being wanted for other crimes in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone.

The remaining suspects were arrested for multiple offences, including channelling funds to terror groups, such as the IS.