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Malaysia arrests several suspected 'Islamic State' militants

Police say seven members of an 'IS' cell were detained during a three day anti-terror operation. The Muslim-majority country has been on high alert since attacks in Jakarta 10 days ago.

Malaysian authorities said on Sunday the arrests were carried out as part of a follow-up operation after the detention of a suspected suicide bomber on January 15.

The seven men were plotting further attacks at "strategic locations" across the country, national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters.

The suspected cell leader is a 31-year-old assistant housekeeping manager at a hotel in southern Johor state, police said.

Officials added that one of the suspects received orders from two IS recruiters including Bahrom Naim, an Indonesian based in Syria who helped plan

the Jakarta attacks.
Watch video 01:59

Jakarta attacks: IS claims responsibility - DW News

One of the suspects was believed to be responsible for collecting funds for local terror operations, as well as to assist Malaysian citizens to join up with the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in Syria.

It's believed that scores of Malaysians have traveled to the Middle East to fight for the jihadist network.

Several items were seized in the anti-terror operation including 30 rounds of ammunition, books on jihad, Islamic State flags and propaganda videos.

Their arrests come as the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur prepares to host an international conference on deradicalization and countering violent extremism.

Malaysia has

raised its security alert following the January 14 attacks

in neighboring Indonesia, which IS has claimed responsibility for.

Malaysian police have detained more than 150 people suspected of having ties to IS over the past two years.

Before the emergence of IS, another Islamist militant group was responsible for several attacks across southeast Asia, including

2002 bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali,

which killed 202 people.

mm/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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