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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Smashed – IS Terrorist cell with arms cache

KUALA LUMPUR - An Islamic State (IS) terror cell has been smuggling weapons in from southern Thailand and stockpiling them for about a year to prepare for attacks on home soil and abroad.

The cell, based in Kelantan, was exposed when police arrested six people in a nationwide swoop.

“The authorities believe they have been smuggling weapons for at least a year but it could have been longer than that,” a source told The Star yesterday.

Two members of the terror cell, were arrested in Kelantan on March 24 and March 25 while another managed to escape to Golok.

Four other IS militants were detained in Malacca, Penang, Johor and Selangor in a major swoop by the Bukit Aman Counter Terrorism Division between March 24 and April 25.

Sources said that among the types of weapons smuggled by the terror cell were pump guns, Colt M4 Carbine and Glock.

“The authorities believe the cell had five semi-automatic pistols, a pump gun, and a Colt M4 Carbine. However, there could be more that the authorities have not found,” another source said.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the arrest of the two, aged 26 and 41, in Kelantan.

“We believe they were involved in smuggling weapons from southern Thailand for the terror group,” he said.

Khalid said police were also looking for Muhammad Muzaffa Arieff Junaidi, 27, from Kampung Gertak, Rantau Panjang, Kelantan, the third member of the terror cell.

“We believe he belonged to the same terror cell as the two who were arrested in Kelantan.

“He managed to escape to southern Thailand via Sungai Golok, with an M4 Carbine rifle and a pistol on March 22. He is also involved in smuggling weapons from Thailand,” he said.

Sources said Muhammad Muzaffa also acted as an intermediary with an IS cell in Thailand.

Khalid urged anyone with information to contact Insp Mohd Badri Othman at 011-2692 4829 or the nearest police station.

The swoop in five states also led to the arrest of a 26-year-old college student at KL International Airport on April 4.

“She went to Turkey on Aug 29 last year with the intention of going to Syria to join IS.

“However, while waiting for in­struc­tions from Malaysian militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, the suspect was detained by Turkish authorities on Feb 5,” Khalid said.

On April 20, a 41-year-old jobless man was held in Malacca while a 32-year-old woman, who worked as a factory technician, was arrested in Johor.

“We believe they were actively promoting IS propaganda via the Google Plus application,” he said.

The IGP said the last arrest was of a 41-year-old man in Penang on April 25. He is believed to have promoted the IS struggle via 15 Facebook accounts since 2014.

“We believe he was also planning to attack mosques in Penang, where the Syiah followers often congregate,” he said.

By Farik Zolkepli

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