KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian police said Monday a grenade blast at a bar last week that injured eight people was the first attack in the country by the Islamic State militant group, and that 15 people have been detained.
Police initially said the June 28 explosion outside Kuala Lumpur was related to a business rivalry, or a revenge or target killing.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said subsequent investigations showed that the blast was carried out by the Islamic State group.
Khalid said two factory workers who allegedly committed the crime have been detained. He said the two men had received orders from a Malaysian man fighting with the group in Syria to launch the attack on the nightspot as it was deemed un-Islamic.
They were believed to have obtained the hand grenade from a neighbouring country, he said. The attack occurred in the early morning as patrons were watching live Euro soccer matches.
Khalid said 13 other suspects, including two low-level policemen, have also been detained across the country as police beefed up security amid concerns that the Islamic State group was planning more attacks.
Apart from nightspots, the suspects were also told to target senior government officials including Prime Minister Najib Razak, senior police officials and judges as they were deemed obstacles to the militants’ activities, he said.
Khalid said one of the policemen had planned to carry out robberies to help fund an Islamic State cell while the other was protecting a senior militant member from detection.
Muslim-majority Malaysia has detained more than 160 suspected militants over the last two years, including some allegedly planning attacks in the country. Police have raised the security alert level this year. On Jan. 15, police detained a man who was allegedly hours away from carrying out a suicide attack in Kuala Lumpur.