PETALING JAYA: Police foiled a terrorist attack on the closing ceremony of the SEA Games in Bukit Jalil and the 60th National Day parade in Dataran Merdeka last week with the arrest of members of the Abu Sayyaff group in Kuala Lumpur. In special operations carried out from July 4 till Aug 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Kelantan and Johor, the Special Branch's Counter-Terrorism Division arrested eight locals and 11 foreigners who are suspected to be involved in terrorist activities. The most notable of these arrests came on the morning of Aug 30, when the special action unit from Bukit Aman arrested eight individuals suspected to be involved with the Abu Sayyaf group in Cheras. The Abu Sayyaf is one of the smallest and most violent terror groups in southern Philippines and had carried out kidnappings in Sabah. Of the eight, two were Filipinos and six were locals aged between 20 and 52 years. Newly installed Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun (pix) said that these eight men were planning on carrying out attacks on the SEA Games closing ceremony and the National Day parade. The main suspect in the plot is a 25-year-old Abu Sayyaf member who had illegally entered Malaysia through Sandakan, Sabah before coming to Kuala Lumpur in December 2015. "The suspect had also been involved in fights against the Filipino military, kidnapping of six Filipino nationals and holding them hostage and also in the beheading of a Christian in Southern Philippines in 2010," said Fuzi in a statement today. It was revealed that the suspect had held meetings in the south of Philippines in 2015 with Dr Mahmud Ahmad, Mohd Najib Hussein and Muhammad Juraimee Awang Ramlee, all Malaysians who joined the Abu Sayyaf in 2014. Of the other arrests made, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi who was a temporary teacher at a Tahfiz school in Gombak was arrested for links to the Jamatul Mujahideen terrorist group in Bangladesh, which has links to the Islamic State (IS). He is wanted by Bangladeshi police. Following the Bangladeshi, police picked up three men in Johor Baru on Aug 7 and Aug 9. One was a local and the other two were from Maldives. The two Maldivians were on transit in Malaysia and Singapore before heading to Syria to join the IS, whereas the Malaysian was arrested for keeping IS related articles on his cellphone and also for having six copies of a banned magazine. On Aug 11, another Malaysian and two Iraqis were also apprehended. The Malaysian, a retired teacher, was arrested in Bachok, Kelantan for promoting IS ideology through his two Facebook accounts. The Iraqis who are brothers, were arrested on suspicion of being IS commanders in the South of Iraq. Another Iraqi and a Palestinian were also arrested on the same day, both were using Malaysia as a transit point to join the IS cells in the Philippines and Albania. The last of the arrests were two Indonesians in Petaling Jaya who were involved in the recruitment of new members to the IS, they were also planning on going to Syria to join the IS militants. Fuzi said that all 19 were arrested under the Penal Code on suspicion of conducting terror activities and are being investigated under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) 2012.