Ten people, including two women, have been arrested in Malaysia for their alleged link to an Islamic terrorist cell reportedly planning attacks in the country and other moderate Muslim nations.
While nine people, including a woman, were arrested yesterday from various locations across the country, another woman was arrested today from Kuala Lumpur.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the women were among the 10 suspects, arrested for allegedly planning to launch bomb attacks in Malaysia and other moderate Muslim countries.
"She was arrested in the vicinity of KL (Kuala Lumpur), this morning. We are in the midst of tracking and identifying other members," he said at a press conference here.
Ahmad Zahid said the suspects, aged between 25 and 56, were picked up in various locations in the country.
He added that the group included students, odd-job workers and professionals.
A Special Counter Terrorism Unit arrested them in nine simultaneous raids – six in Selangor and three in Kedah states - early yesterday morning.
The cell is believed to have been operating since October last year and had recruited its members via Facebook.
The Star newspaper quoting unnamed sources said items seized from the premises included maps and plans of government buildings and key installations and publications.
"This group is against any Muslim country seen as secular and pro-democracy. We believe our government and other governments are its intended targets in what it regards as 'Holy War'," the source told the Star, adding that this was also the same motto adopted by militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
The source said police were now looking for the group's weapons caches in two states.
"This group has no political links but has ties with foreign terror cells," the source said.
It is learnt that the group is also involved in recruiting fighters to Syria and authorities have also traced its indirect links to al-Qaeda and JI.
Among the publications seized were books written by JI spiritual head Abu Bakar Bashir, who is in jail in Indonesia for inciting terror attacks and for funding terror cells in Aceh province.