Australia warns of terror attack in Kuala Lumpur

Australia sees terrorism threat in Kuala Lumpur
Australia sees terrorism threat in Kuala Lumpur

Australia has cautioned against visitors travelling to Malaysia's capital city amid speculation terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur.

In an online travel advisory posted on Sunday, the Australian government said there is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Malaysia, especially in major cities, with attacks likely to be indiscriminate and affecting locations frequented by Westerners.

Kuala Lumpur has not faced any prominent terror acts in recent years, but the country is on high alert after a Malay-speaking combat unit called Katibah Nusantara was linked to a series of explosions in Indonesia's capital Jakarta last month.

Formed in 2014, the extremist group covers the Malay Archipelago and has been actively connecting extremist networks across Malaysia and Indonesia—countries with massive Muslim populations—in an effort to help the Islamic State further its ideological goals.

Malaysian authorities have arrested several people allegedly involved in planning attacks, including against entertainment venues in Kuala Lumpur, the Australian government noted on Sunday's advisory.

Since 2013, the Malaysian police have arrested more than 150 suspected Islamic State followers, according to media reports.

In response to Sunday's warning, Malaysia's Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told local media that all areas in the capital city were safe to visit, assuring the international community that authorities were beefing up nation-wide security to prevent attacks.

An official statement from Malaysia's Foreign Ministry added that there was "nothing to be alarmed of."

"We acknowledge the fact that foreign missions are at liberty to provide their own assessment of the security situation in their host countries albeit the fact that it may not be accurate or gives a true reflection of the situation," the statement said.

Canberra also warned against all travel to the coastal islands in Malaysia's eastern state of Sabah, home to several tourist resorts and dive sites, citing a high threat of kidnapping and attacks by armed insurgents. Both the U.K and New Zealand have issued similar warnings recently.

Last month, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the Islamic State group a "very real" threat to the country after a video featuring Katibah Nusantara operatives warned of attacks in response to the police crackdown.

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