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Malaysia arrests seven ISIS suspects

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KUALA LUMPUR An immigration officer was among seven Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suspects who were arrested in Sabah and at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from last Wednesday to Sunday.

The woman officer is alleged to have arranged for militants to travel without valid documents to Sabah before heading to southern Philippines.

The other suspects include three Filipinos with permanent resident status.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said the first to be arrested was a 27-year-old Filipino who is a permanent resident and an 18-year-old Filipino in Kota Kinabalu last Wednesday.

"The suspect with the PR status is believed to have secured funds for Malaysian fugitives Mahmud Ahmad and Mohamad Joraimee Awang Raimee.

"The second suspect is an IS militant who has sworn allegiance to Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon," the IGP said yesterday.

The second series of arrests involved a 53-year-old ferry ticket seller and a labourer (both Filipinos with Malaysian permanent residency) and the 31-year-old woman immigration officer in Sandakan, Sabah, on Thursday.

"The two suspects with PR status are believed to have assisted in the transit of three Indonesian IS militants to southern Philippines through Sabah.

"The immigration officer had arranged for the entry of people without valid travel documents, including IS militants from Indonesia and Malaysia, into Sabah before heading to southern Philippines," he said.

The sixth suspect - a 36-year-old Filipino man - was detained in Sandakan last Thursday. The seventh suspect, a 36-year-old Malaysian man who was a former medical assistant at Jerantut hospital, was arrested at KLIA on Sunday.

The IGP said the man went to Turkey in October last year to try to enter Syria, but was caught by Turkish authorities on Jan 16 along with Indonesian militants and deported. - THE STAR