The Malaysian security forces have revealed they last year thwarted an ISIS plot to kidnap prime minister Najib Razak.
Home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid said the Islamic extremist group had prepared and tested explosives while planning attacks in the administrative capital, Putrajaya.
“On January 30, 2015, there were plans by 13 people linked to Daesh [ISIS] to kidnap the country’s leaders including the prime minister, the home minister and the defence minister,” Mr Zahid said. He said the group planned four attacks between September 2014 and May 2015.
Malaysia is on high alert after terrorism incidents in surrounding countries. In the past 14 months authorities have arrested at least 160 people suspected to be involved with militant groups, which may have contributed to the country’s incident-free record.
Russia tells North Korea to back down
Russia has told its ally North Korea to soften its rhetoric or risk giving the international community legitimate grounds to forcefully oppose it. The Russian warning was an unusually blunt response to North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un’s threat to to deliver “preventative nuclear strikes” against its enemies – in effect, the entire free world. The Russian Foreign Ministry said “We consider it to be absolutely impermissible to make public statements containing threats to deliver some ‘preventive nuclear strikes’ against opponents.”
Slaughter at Somali terror camp
A Somalian herder who saw the aftermath of the US air strike against an al-Shabaab militant Islamist training camp has described a scene of panic and devastation. Bashir Dhure told The Guardian “All nearby places were caught on fire and no one knew what was happening.” After the attack, he said, al-Shabaab fighters gathered up the dead and loaded them onto trucks. The villagers did not know where the bodies were taken or buried. Mr Dhure fled the village in fear of a witchhunt by the militants. He said they detained a dozen people in their search for informants and spies.
US discusses basing B1 bombers in Australia
The US hopes to base long-range bombers in Australia to counter Chinese military expansionism in the South China Sea. A US military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Damien Packart, told Reuters no decisions have been made, but discussions with Canberra included the possible deployment of B1 bombers or the expansion of existing B52 missions from northern Australia.
The Prime Minister, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, did not respond to questions about the report today. An analyst at the Lowy Institute, Euan Graham, told Reuters he expected China, which has already expressed disquiet at Australian defence plans outlined in the recent Defence White Paper, would be angered by any such moves. – Compiled from web sources by Ben Rochlin
Screengrab of Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak from CNN TV.