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NEWS UPDATES 20 July 2010

Terror groups eyeing teens

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In their drive to recruit new members, regional terror groups are targeting not just university students but teenagers as well, Channel News Asia reports.

The arrest of Malaysian terror suspect Mohd Fadzullah Abdul Razak last week revealed that one of the suspected new recruits is only 17 years old.

28-year-old Mohd Fadzullah, an engineer, is said to have links with deported Syrian religious teacher Aiman Al-Dakak and fellow Malaysian Azzahari Murad who has been placed under restricted residence.

Both were arrested in January, along with eight foreign students, for plotting to blow up non-Muslim places of worship in Malaysia.

As a freelance religious teacher, Mohd Fadzullah is believed to have recruited students for the regional terror network, known as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Malaysian Home Affairs Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said: "It's happening across the world. The younger they are, the easier they are influenced.”

Malaysia is working with Interpol, Aseanapol - the regional police network - as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

FBI assistant director for international operations Joseph Demarest said: "The homegrown threat the Home Minister was referring to, quite possibly through the Internet, the radicalization over the Internet through smaller groups, individuals whom we may not know, those are of concerns - at least for the FBI."

The officials were speaking on the sidelines of a conference by the FBI National Academy in Kuala Lumpur to beef up law enforcement standards through best practices and cooperation.

Meanwhile to prevent Malaysia from becoming a terrorist recruiting centre, the Home Ministry is working closely with the police and the university authorities to prevent students from falling into militants' traps, including stricter entry rules for foreign students and tighter vetting process for lecturers.

Students, parents and the public have also been asked to be on the lookout for possible extreme elements infiltrating the schools and campuses

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