World

Batu Caves temple, 2 others on alert after ISIS-linked plot is foiled

Four suspects had ties with extremist religious group linked to ISIS

PETALING JAYA: Three temples in Kuala Lumpur have tightened security following the arrest of four suspects linked to an extremist religious group said to be linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

Police said yesterday that the three other members of the group on the run have also been arrested.

The temples are the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniyar Temple, Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple on Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, and Courthill Sri Ganesha Temple on Jalan Pudu Ulu.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam Kuala Lumpur, which runs the three historic temples, said it was wary after it was reported that one of the reasons cited for the planned attack was to avenge the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

"We view the arrests seriously, and their intentions which had been planned, which was to target places of worship as well as entertainment outlets in a supposed act of revenge on the unfortunate death of the fireman in the Seafield temple incident last year," the statement yesterday said.

It added that the steps taken included random checks on bags and monitoring of visitors.

Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Devasthanam Kuala Lumpur also urged devotees to keep a watchful eye for suspicious characters.

"We are consistently looking at steps to be taken to elevate security and safety measures at all three temples," it said, adding that the Batu Caves temple alone drew an average of 3,000 tourists a day.

Police said the three remaining members of the so called "wolf pack" cell arrested included two Malaysians and an Indonesian. They were arrested by the Counter Terrorism Division in Kedah and Selangor on Tuesday.

"We arrested the Malaysian suspects, Muhammad Syazani Mahzan and Muhamad Nuurul Amin Azizan, in Kuala Muda, Kedah.

"Both suspects, aged 27, had previously gone for bomb-making training in Jogjakarta in 2018 with another militant who was arrested in November last year," Inspector General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said yesterday.

"They had learnt to produce the Triacetone Triperoxide chemical used to make large-scale bombs and car bombs. Both suspects also recced a few churches in Jogjakarta for potential targets."

He said Muhammad Syazani planned to target a non-Muslim house of worship in Malaysia with a suicide bomb attack.

The third arrest was of Indonesian Nuruddin Alele@Fatin Tir in Banting, Selangor, he added.

"He was introduced to the Islamic State's ideology and struggle, and was incarcerated for five years in Surabaya, Indonesia.

"He also planned to launch attacks on non-Muslim houses of worship in the Klang Valley," the IGP said.

Fireman Adib, 24, was critically injured in November last year after he and his team members responded to an emergency call at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Subang Jaya, where a riot had taken place earlier.

He died in hospital on Dec 17.

No one has been charged over the death, and there is an ongoing inquest into the incident. - THE STAR

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