Did ISIS plan to kidnap Malaysia’s Prime Minister?

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KL polisMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was among top Malaysian officials that militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) planned to kidnap last year, at least according to a statement by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, citing police and intelligence information.

Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, said he and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein were also targeted by the group.

“On January 30, 2015, a total of 13 people with ties to Daesh (another name for ISIS) had planned to kidnap the leaders, including the prime minister, home minister and defense minister,” Hamidi told parliament on March 8.

The terrorists also planned to launch multiple attacks in various parts of the country at the same time. This included attacks in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, attempts to rob firearms from army camps and robbing cash vans. Kidnapping the country’s leaders would have been made for ransom.

Four concrete attacks have been prevented by police, Hamidi added. In September 2014, there was a plan by the group to test improvised explosive devices in Kedah. Other attempts included attacking places of worship and entertainment outlets in the country. They apparently wanted to destroy a Shiite mosque, a Buddhist temple and a Freemasons’ lodge outside Kuala Lumpur, according to Hamidi.

He said that increased security at military bases and for officials would ensure that ISIS’ influence in Malaysia would be limited. Security measures were also increased in public areas, such as malls and tourist spots, while precautionary measures were taken in border areas to prevent possible terrorist infiltration.

Police arrested 157 suspected militants, including 25 women, since 2013. They were believed to be involved with various levels of militant activities related to ISIS.

However, Malaysia remains at “serious risk” of an attack by ISIS militants, warns prominent political analyst Alastair Newton, saying that security warnings about the terrorist threat in Malaysia “should be taken seriously”.

“It is far from clear where, outside its ‘heartland’, ISIS will strike next. But strike it will. And one region which appears to be at serious risk is Southeast Asia,” Newton said.

Australia in February advised its citizens to avoid all travel to the coastal resorts of Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah, including islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities because of the high threat of kidnapping. New Zealand classified travel to the area as “high risk”, while the United Kingdom also warned citizens against travel to coastal islands in Sabah near the Philippines, citing high threats to foreigners of kidnapping and other crimes. There have been no travel warnings for the rest of Malaysia, though.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was among top Malaysian officials that militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) planned to kidnap last year, at least according to a statement by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, citing police and intelligence information.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

KL polisMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was among top Malaysian officials that militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) planned to kidnap last year, at least according to a statement by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, citing police and intelligence information.

Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, said he and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein were also targeted by the group.

“On January 30, 2015, a total of 13 people with ties to Daesh (another name for ISIS) had planned to kidnap the leaders, including the prime minister, home minister and defense minister,” Hamidi told parliament on March 8.

The terrorists also planned to launch multiple attacks in various parts of the country at the same time. This included attacks in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, attempts to rob firearms from army camps and robbing cash vans. Kidnapping the country’s leaders would have been made for ransom.

Four concrete attacks have been prevented by police, Hamidi added. In September 2014, there was a plan by the group to test improvised explosive devices in Kedah. Other attempts included attacking places of worship and entertainment outlets in the country. They apparently wanted to destroy a Shiite mosque, a Buddhist temple and a Freemasons’ lodge outside Kuala Lumpur, according to Hamidi.

He said that increased security at military bases and for officials would ensure that ISIS’ influence in Malaysia would be limited. Security measures were also increased in public areas, such as malls and tourist spots, while precautionary measures were taken in border areas to prevent possible terrorist infiltration.

Police arrested 157 suspected militants, including 25 women, since 2013. They were believed to be involved with various levels of militant activities related to ISIS.

However, Malaysia remains at “serious risk” of an attack by ISIS militants, warns prominent political analyst Alastair Newton, saying that security warnings about the terrorist threat in Malaysia “should be taken seriously”.

“It is far from clear where, outside its ‘heartland’, ISIS will strike next. But strike it will. And one region which appears to be at serious risk is Southeast Asia,” Newton said.

Australia in February advised its citizens to avoid all travel to the coastal resorts of Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah, including islands, dive sites and associated tourist facilities because of the high threat of kidnapping. New Zealand classified travel to the area as “high risk”, while the United Kingdom also warned citizens against travel to coastal islands in Sabah near the Philippines, citing high threats to foreigners of kidnapping and other crimes. There have been no travel warnings for the rest of Malaysia, though.

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