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Malaysian authorities foil attack on Saudi king in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian police arrested seven men, including four Yemeni nationals, a few days ahead of the Saudi royal's visit
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (2nd L) waves next to parliament speaker Setyo Novanto (front R) at the parliament in Jakarta on March 2, 2017

Malaysian authorities claim to have foiled a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz last month during his tour of Asia.

Malaysia's police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on Tuesday that the seven men, including four Yemeni nationals, were arrested in February.

According to Abu Bakar, the seven men, who are suspected of having links with the Islamic State (IS) militant group, had plotted to attack the Saudi royal in Kuala Lumpur.

“They were planning to attack Arab royalties during their visit to Kuala Lumpur. We got them in the nick of time,” Abu Bakar told reporters.

King Salman started his Asia tour in Malaysia on 26 February before arriving in Indonesia, where he is currently enjoying an extended stay in Bali. He will later visit China, Japan and the Maldives.

Police said in an earlier statement that two of the detained men, a Malaysian and an Indonesian, were plotting a large-scale bomb attack before travelling to join IS in Syria.

The news was met with strong reactions on social media, with the hashtag "the assassination of King Salman", in Arabic, trending worldwide. The hashtag was the top trend this afternoon.

Translation: May you continue to reign over this country. May God protect you against any harm.

Translation: May God protect the King and his family. May God protect the Saudi kingdom, its people and government.

Translation: May God protect you in your situation and in your travels

On the second day of the king’s visit, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company, Aramco, announced plans to invest $7bn in a Malaysian refining project.

The move highlighted efforts by the world’s largest crude producer to secure growth in Asia.

Saudi Arabia is leading a military coalition against Yemen’s Houthi rebels in an armed intervention aimed at restoring the government in exile.

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