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Top Leaders On IS Kidnap List

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic State planned to kidnap top Malaysian leaders on its “hit list” to demand the release of militants detained here.

According to Malaysian intelligence, two soldiers of an IS cell who were arrested and charged earlier this year drew up an elaborate plan to lead the kidnapped leaders to a secluded spot in the Klang Valley.

They would video record their capture. After making the demand for the release of their comrades, they would identify a secure place for the prisoner exchange to take place.

The terror network was not out to seek a ransom, only the release of their detained comrades, Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ayob Khan revealed yesterday.

“The IS was only out to secure the freedom of their fellow militants in Sungai Buloh Prison. It was not about making any ransom demand,” he told The Star.

SAC Ayob said the IS planned to use the prisoner exchange as a form of propaganda to “promote” its network.

He described the threat of the IS in Malaysia as “real”, as the latest IS doctrine pressed its members to carry out attacks in their home countries.

SAC Ayob cautioned that the situation in South-East Asia could turn volatile if lecturer-turned-militant Dr Mahmud Ahmad had his way in forming a regional IS bloc.

“Our top priority is to stop him from his goal of getting to Syria and swearing an oath of allegiance be­­fore IS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” he said.

He said police had tightened surveillance and security at all major entry points, especially airports, to prevent any militant from going to Syria.

On the Paris terror attacks, he said there was no record to show that one of the attackers had tran­sited in Malaysia.

“We have checked the name on the passport recovered at the attack scene in Paris and found no such record,” he added.

Bukit Aman is on high alert following the terror attacks in Paris on Friday.

The IS has claimed responsibility for the carnage which killed at least 129 people.

Preparations for the Asean Summit here this week are also being relooked and security arrangements tightened.

On Sunday, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said several Malaysian leaders, including himself, were on the IS “hit list”.

He said information on the IS threat was made known before the joint Asean Defence Ministers Meeting at Langkawi in March.-The Star

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