Malaysia: A 31 year old Pakistani former member of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba has been arrested, along with four other terror suspects, in counter-terror raids across Malaysia, Malaysian police said on Wednesday.
— Mohamad Fuzi Harun (@Fuzi_Harun) October 31, 2018
A story filed at Benarnews.org by Zam Yusa and Ali Nufael reports:
A 50-year-old Egyptian who had worked as an executive with a Kuala Lumpur-based advertising company was arrested on Oct.13 outside the country’s capital, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said.
“The suspect was a member of the al-Qaeda militant group during his stay in Afghanistan from 1988 to 1993,” Fuzi said in a statement. “He also met with Osama bin Laden, the former leader of al-Qaeda.”
The suspect, who entered Malaysia with his wife in May this year, told investigators he had been arrested previously in Canada and Egypt for using fake travel documents, which he also used to enter Azerbaijan and Pakistan in the past, Fuzi said.
The Egyptian had also been imprisoned in his home country for terror activities, Fuzi said. He did not identify the suspect.
“The man was not cooperative with investigators at the moment,” a high-ranking government source told BenarNews.
Authorities have not seen evidence that the suspect had denounced his involvement with the global militant organization, the source said.
“We are afraid that Malaysia will become a terror organization’s base. Al-Qaeda, unlike the IS, is good at making long-term plans,” the source said, using the other acronym for Islamic State.
He cited the meeting of al-Qaeda terrorists who met in 1999 in Kuala Lumpur as they plotted the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States. The four coordinated terror attacks, which involved hijacked planes, killed almost 3,000 people and injured 6,000 others.
In 2000, the source said, high-level al-Qaeda members also met in Kuala Lumpur to plan the bombing on that year of the U.S. Navy ship USS Cole in Yemen, killing 17 American sailors and injuring 39 others. Some of the attendees in that meeting were hijackers of the plane that was flown into the Pentagon in the 9/11 attacks, he said.
That meeting was organized by Malaysian Yazid Sufaat, a former army captain, believed to be one of al-Qaeda’s anthrax researchers. Malaysian authorities arrested Yazid in 2001, released him in 2008 and was rearrested in 2013 under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for incitement of terrorist acts.
Apart from the Egyptian, the counter-terror agents also arrested a 31 year-old Pakistani with suspected links to the South Asian militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Fuzi said.
He said a 31-year-old man, who was only identified as a Middle Eastern, was arrested after he had allegedly posted Facebook comments threatening to kill a foreign ambassador.
Two Malaysians, aged 32 and 40, were also arrested, he said. All of the suspects were detained separately in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak and the Borneo state Sabah between Oct. 13 and Oct. 26, the police chief said.
Investigators said the Malaysians were believed to have channeled funds to slain Malaysian IS recruiter Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi and another top Malaysian militant, Muhamad Fudhail Omar, who was believed killed in Syria last year, and also to the Abu Sayyaf, a group of militants operating in the southern Philippines.
Four of the suspects were detained under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 while the Pakistani was arrested on charges of violating the country’s Immigration Act.
At this point not much is known about the Pakistani former member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, including why he was arrested. Deputy Director of ITCT Faran Jeffery, who was also quoted in the Benarnews.org story, said that this is most likely first such case of a Pakistani linked to LeT being arrested in Malaysia.
The Pakistani government has not commented on these reports yet.
This story will be updated in case of new information.