A total of 45 foreign terrorist fighters have been arrested in Malaysia so far this year. Pic by NSTP/ courtesy of PDRM

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 45 foreign terrorist fighters have been arrested in Malaysia so far this year.

The majority of them (30 people) are Islamic State members, with three of them identified as southern Iraq commanders. The others comprise nine Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, three from the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (Feto), one an Albanian militant affiliated to the IS, while another is linked to Bangladesh terror group, Jamaatul Mujahideen.

The arrests were made by Federal police’s Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division from January to October 6.

Of the total, 13 have been brought to court, 12 were deported back to their respective countries, seven were freed while one has been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015.

Twelve more are still under investigation.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun, announcing the development today, said the arrests were proactive measures taken by police after intelligence revealed that IS remnants had been instructed to infiltrate other countries to launch attacks after losing their bases in the battlegrounds of Iraq and Syria.

“Intelligence also confirmed that the Islamic State is cooperating with other terrorist groups such as ASG and Jamaatul Mujahideen, which had sent their members to launch attacks in Malaysia,” he said.

Fuzi revealed that ASG militants were sent to launch attacks in Malaysia. The other terrorists, meanwhile, were seeking shelter, collecting funds and planning to either launch attacks here or using Malaysia as their operation base.

“Police’s success in this operation is the result of robust cooperation with foreign intelligence and enforcement agencies in terms of exchanging information.

“We will continue to monitor and take action against the foreign terrorist fighters to ensure that all attacks are stopped,” he said.

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