Malaysian police say they have detained three Muslim men suspected of wanting to go to Syria to join the militant Islamic State group.

The head of the national police counter-terrorism unit, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said Friday that the three were detained Thursday at the Kuala Lumpur international airport while waiting for a flight to Turkey en route to Syria.

He says the men — an architect and a technician, both aged 26, and a 46-year-old shopkeeper — were believed to be recruited through Facebook and other social media sites and were in contact with Malaysians fighting in Syria.

Ayob Khan says the men were held under the Security Offenses Act, which allows police to hold suspects for up to 28 days before they must be brought to court.