KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysian police have detained seven men suspected of being an Islamic State militant cell that was plotting attacks, authorities said Sunday.
The seven Malaysians were detained over the past three days in a follow-up operation after the Jan. 15 detention of a man who was planning a suicide attack in Kuala Lumpur, national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said.
Among the items seized were 30 types of bullets, jihad books and Islamic State flags and videos, he said.
“All the suspects are members of the same [terror] cell, which is responsible for planning to launch terror attacks in strategic locations across Malaysia,” Khalid said in a statement.
The suspect thought to be the cell leader is a 31-year-old assistant housekeeping manager at a hotel in southern Johor state, Khalid said. He said one of the suspects, whom he didn’t identify, received orders from Bahrom Naim, an Indonesian based in Syria who had a role in planning the Jakarta attacks.
Malaysia raised its security alert level following the attacks on Jan. 14 in neighboring Indonesia.
More than 150 people suspected of having ties to the Islamic State group have been detained in Malaysia over the past two years, including some accused of plotting attacks in Kuala Lumpur.