KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian authorities detained 14 people believed to have links to the Islamic State (IS) in a series of raids across several states earlier this week.
The 14 - all Malaysians - are the latest to be detained by authorities who have been on a concerted campaign over the past few years to stamp out the threat of Islamist militancy in the country.
Deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said in a statement that eight of the suspects are believed to have transferred money to the IS in Syria and the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the southern Philippines.
All eight are also believed to have ties with Malaysian IS recruiter Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, who police had earlier identified as having recruited several Malaysians to launch an attack in the southeast Asian nation.
Three others were detained on suspicion of promoting IS ideology, while two men and one woman were arrested for allegedly planning to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group.
The raids were carried out between May 17-20 by the police special branch’s counter-terrorism division in six states across the peninsula.
Muslim-majority Malaysia has been on high alert since Islamic State-linked militants carried out an armed attack in the capital of neighboring Indonesia in January.
In March, Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said police had foiled an IS plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib Razak and other senior ministers last year.
Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Kim Coghill