KUALA LUMPUR Malaysian police said on Sunday they have arrested 16 people for suspected militant links after a two-week operation across the country.
The arrests were made between Sept. 21 and Oct. 6. Fifteen were Malaysians and the other was a citizen of a North African country. The suspects were aged between 20 and 38 years old.
Fourteen were arrested for suspected links to Islamic State and channelling funds to Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi, who was responsible for a grenade attack on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in June, police said in a statement.
Wanndy is a Malaysian known by police to be fighting with Islamic State in Syria.
Another suspect, a Malaysian student, was arrested on arrival at Kuala Lumpur international airport. The police said he had travelled to Istanbul with an intention to enter Syria, but was detained by Turkish authorities at the request of Malaysian police.
The police also said they arrested a citizen of a North African country for suspected links to Jahbat Al Nusra, an Islamic group in Syria. They did not specify which North African country.
The grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital in June is seen as the Islamist group's first successful assault in the country.
Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been on high alert since Islamic State-linked militants carried out an armed attack in the capital of neighbouring Indonesia in January.
In late August, Malaysian police arrested three local supporters of Islamic State who had allegedly been planning several attacks in Kuala Lumpur ahead of independence day celebrations.
(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Emily Chow; Editing by Susan Fenton)