KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysian police have foiled plans for a wave of bombings drawn up by radical Islamic militants inspired by Iraq's extremist jihad group ISIL, a top counter-terrorism official said Tuesday.
The 19 suspected militants arrested from April-June were formulating plans to bomb pubs, discos and a Malaysian brewery of Danish beer producer Carlsberg, said Ayob Khan Mydin, deputy chief of the Malaysian police counter-terrorism division.
Ayob Khan told AFP the group, all Malaysians, had visions of establishing a hardline Southeast Asian Islamic caliphate spanning Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore, and planned to travel to Syria to learn from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The plotters included professionals and two housewives.
They were only in the early stages of discussing their plans and did not have heavy weapons or bomb-making knowledge, he said.
Seven have already been charged with offences ranging from promoting terrorism to possession of home-made rifles.
They planned "a campaign of violence and armed struggle and to die as martyrs", Ayob Khan said, adding police believe there could still be co-plotters at large in Malaysia.
Some of those arrested were apprehended at airports on the way to Turkey and Syria to seek training and other support from ISIL.
ISIL, also known as Islamic State, espouses an extreme brand of Islam. It is believed to have thousands of Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq, some of them Westerners.