Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi: ISIS planned to kidnap PM and other officials
Hamidi told parliament that intelligence had also foiled multiple attacks
Malaysian authorities foiled an ISIS plot to kidnap Prime Minister Najib Razak, along with two other ranking officials, the country’s deputy prime minister told Parliament on Tuesday.
The operation also uncovered plans to initiate multiple attacks in various parts of the country, including the capital, Kuala Lumpur, just over a year ago.
“On Jan. 30, 2015, a total of 13 people with ties to Daesh had planned to kidnap the leaders, including the prime minister, home minister and defense minister,” Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – who is also the home minister and one of the targets – told the country’s parliament Tuesday. Daesh is another name for the terror group.
“We detected plans to attack several locations in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, attempt to rob of firearms from army camps, making of explosions, robbing cash-in-transit vans as well as plot to kidnap the country’s leaders for ransom,” Hamidi said.
He said there was no formal ISIS network in Malaysia and that cells were receiving orders direct from Syria.
Defiance: ‘I’m not scared’
Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein took a defiant tone as the news emerged of the plot, saying that as an individual he was unafraid of the militant group and its intentions.
“I’m not scared, it’s not me as an individual, but the post (of defense minister) that I hold,” that the group wished to attack, state media Bernama reported him saying Tuesday. He added that increased security at military bases and for officials would ensure that ISIS’ influence in Malaysia would be limited.
“Whatever it is, I leave it to the authorities to ensure the safety of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, as well as other Cabinet ministers,” he told reporters, using the Prime Minister’s honorifics, after visiting a Royal Malaysian Navy base.
CNN’s Yuli Yang contributed reporting to this story