KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Security measures are being stepped up in public places and foreign diplomatic missions in Malaysia in the wake of threats by global terror group Islamic State to launch attacks here and other countries, the police said today.
The police intelligence agency’s counter-terrorism unit said it was aware that IS has called on its followers worldwide to attack several nations, including Malaysia, through its online magazine Dabiq.
“PDRM has and will continue to act to step up security in all places with key assets to the country, including foreign embassies and public places,” Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, assistant director of E8, the counter-terrorism unit in the police Special Branch, said in a short statement.
Earlier today, Japan ordered its embassies worldwide to raise their security alert after IS highlighted its missions in Indonesia, Malaysia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were part of a broader threat.
The move comes about eight months after IS claimed credit for beheading two Japanese hostages — war correspondent Kenji Goto and his friend Haruna Yukawa — in Syria and amid anxiety in Japan over impending legislation that critics fear could drag the officially pacifist country into wars overseas, news wire service AFP reported.
Despite being a Muslim nation, Malaysia too has not been spared from threats of attacks by IS cell groups, whose members may even be locals.
A 24-year-old man, Nazirul Abidin Thalha, 24, was sentenced to a year in jail after he pleaded guilty today to downloading 15 publications about IS into his smartphone.
In its online magazine’s latest issue, the militant Muslim group threatened attacks against 70 “crusader nations” and “apostate armies”.
“What, for example, prevents (a jihadi) from targeting... communities in Dearborn, Michigan, Los Angeles, and New York City? Or targeting Panamanian diplomatic missions in Jakarta, Doha, and Dubai? Or targeting Japanese diplomatic missions in Bosnia, Malaysia, and Indonesia? Or targeting Saudi diplomats in Tirana, Albania, Sarajevo, Bosnia, and Pristina, Kosovo?” AFP reported IS as saying.
Japan’s parliament is expected to pass legislation next week that will expand the role of its military, and possibly put troops into combat for the first time since the end of World War II.