Malaysia arrests 2 suspected Isis men in Kuala Lumpur airport

Suspects were recruited by known militant Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, police say.

Malaysia arrests 7 suspects
A soldier patrols outside a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 25, 2016. Reuters

Malaysian police detained two suspected Islamic State members at Kuala Lumpur airport on Friday. The Southeast Asian country has made hundreds of arrests this year in terror crackdowns following a deadly blast carried out by Isis-linked outfits in neighbouring Indonesia in January pulverised the region's sense of security.

The men arrested on Friday are Malaysians aged 29 and 24 and they were deported by Turkey after being found trying to cross into Syria, the officials said.

"One of the suspects is a technician from Johor while the other is a labourer from Sarawak," officers with the Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division said, according to the Straits Times.

"We believe both of them were recruited by known militant Mohamad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi," Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said.

Malaysia has made a series of arrests since the Islamic State group of militants gained ground in Syria and Turkey and started recruiting fighters from Asian countries.

Muslim-majority Malaysia set up counter-terrorism units in every state of the country to rein in rising threat of Islamist militancy after a deadly blast in neighbouring Indonesia's capital Jakarta in January.

In January, Malaysia busted a suspected Islamist State cell and arrested seven people in a three-day operation. The suspects had trained their eyes on Malaysian targets and had received training from Syrian members of the Isis.

Another 13 suspected terror sympathisers were arrested in March. The government said intelligence units also thwarted an Islamic State (Isis) plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The plot to kidnap Najib and other top leaders was uncovered and foiled in January last year, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also the deputy prime minister, said in parliament. The Daesh militants had also planned in 2014 to launch attacks at several locations in Alor Setar, Kedah, police said.

Last month, sixteen people including a North African man were arrested by the Malaysian police after a two-week operation across five states in the country. Police said the arrested citizen of a North African country had links with Jahbat Al Nusra, an Islamic group in Syria.