Malaysia launches crackdown on Isis after threats to kill the king and prime minister

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One Isis suspect allegedly threatened to kill Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. Photograph: Lai Seng Sin/Reuters

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen, The Guardian

Police in Malaysia have arrested seven suspected Isis militants, including one man who allegedly made threats against the king and the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and another who planned to carry out bomb attacks across the region.

It is the most extensive crackdown on Islamic State (Isis) in Malaysia since 2016, when the group bombed a nightclub in Kuala Lumpur, an attack which had no fatalities. The country has been on high alert since multiple Isis attacks were carried out in neighbouring Indonesia, most recently the bombings in Surabaya which killed 37.

In an operation that spanned five Malaysian states,police arrested three Indonesians and four Malaysians suspected of being members of the terrorist group, some of whom had made threats online to carry out attacks across south-east Asia and others who had donated money to well-known Isis militants.

One of the suspects, a 34-year-old Malaysian, was arrested after he pledged allegiance to the group on Facebook and said he planned to assassinate the Malaysian king, the prime minister and the religious affairs minister for not running the country according to Islamic Shariah law.

“The suspect is a supporter of Daesh who posted on his Facebook account the threat to kill his royal highness, the king, Sultan Muhammad V, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and minister in the prime minister’s department Mujahid Yusof Rawa,” said the inspector general of Malaysia police, Mohd Fuzi Harun.