Malaysia detains 8 terror suspects, foiling possible threats against prime minister, king and others

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Police in Malaysia have detained eight people with suspected links to the Islamic State militant group and thwarted possible threats against Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, the nation’s king and other dignitaries, the government said Monday.

Six men and two women, aged 25 to 70, were detained without trial in four states during a police operation over the weekend, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution said. Their arrests followed several operations carried out in May, he said, adding that detainees included a former university lecturer, housewives and a construction worker.

Malaysia has taken tough measures to curb the influence of militant cells linked to the Islamic State, with hundreds of people suspected of having ties to IS detained in the country before 2020. Such arrests have been more rare in recent years.

Saifuddin said that an investigation revealed threats to Anwar, the prime minister, and Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, who holds the country’s rotating monarchy, as well as top police officials and “prominent individuals.”

The police investigation was continuing, he said, without providing more details.

Saifuddin there was no need to worry about public safety because police had taken steps to counter any extremist threat at an early stage. But he urged the public to remain vigilant, saying modern technology and social media were increasingly being misused to spread dangerous ideologies.

Earlier this month, a man was charged with spreading IS ideology to incite terrorism in his family after his son raided a police station and was shot dead after killing two officers. The man’s Singaporean wife and three other children also were charged in court.

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