Malaysian Snipers, Suicide Bomber Killed in Iraq: Report

BenarNews Staff

2015-10-01
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151001-MY-flag-620.png An Islamic State (IS) flag and bomb-making materials are displayed after these items were seized during arrests of 11 suspects at various locations in Selangor, Malaysia, April 25, 2015.
Courtesy of Royal Malaysia Police

Malaysians recruited by the Islamic State (IS) have become suicide bombers and snipers in Iraq and Syria, a report quoted a government counter-terrorism official as saying Thursday, amid sightings of the militant group’s black flag in parts of Malaysia.

The government was informed of the deaths recently of three Malaysians in Iraq who were on a suspected special operations mission undertaken by IS, Royal Malaysia Police counter-terrorism branch chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told a leading Malaysian newspaper.

“Our intelligence shows that they are relying more on Malaysians now to carry out strike missions against several key structures in Iraq,” he told The Star in an interview.

The latest deaths bring the number of Malaysians killed in Iraq and Syria while fighting under the Islamic State banner to 14, he said.

At present, Ayob said, police had identified 69 Malaysians with IS in Syria. But he believed the actual number could be about 100, including children.

Late last month, Ayob revealed to BenarNews that three Malaysian jihadists had carried out suicide bombings in Syria or Iraq. A fourth citizen had tried to carry out suicide bombings without success.

The three most recent to die in Iraq were a suicide bomber and two snipers, The Star report said.

Flag sightings

Predominantly Muslim Malaysia practices a moderate brand of Islam. But there are concerns among experts over growing hardline Islamic sentiment in the multi-racial country, which, they fear, could become a breeding ground for radical militants.

Ayob’s remarks contradicted a statement made two months ago by a senior government official overseeing security matters, who suggested that a majority of Malaysian militants who had gone abroad to join IS never saw combat and were doing menial jobs, such as cleaning toilets.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the deputy home minister, said IS had little use for the Malaysians as soldiers because they did not possess any military training and, therefore, no knowledge in handling weapons.

“Without any fighting skills or combat experience, these Malaysians never really participated in the fight,” the Malaysian media quoted him as saying in July. “They only do odd jobs based on what their commanders asked them to do.

“So they became toilet cleaners or kitchen helpers.”

Ayob also told The Star that Islamic State flags were reportedly spotted in several Malaysian states, including Perak, Terengganu, Kedah and Selangor, about two weeks ago.

But the sightings were no cause for concern as there was no imminent security threat to the country, he said.

“We rely on our intelligence ¬gathering and cooperation with other anti-terrorism agencies to prevent any attack in the country,” he said.

He advised the public to ignore what he called rumors of an impending attack on Malaysian soil.

“We have been monitoring the situation, especially regarding the recruitment of Malaysians by the terror group,” he said. “Our priority is the safety and security of all,” he said.

Malay unit

Ayob said the Malaysian militants sent by Islamic State to participate in strikes inside Iraq were from Khatibah Nusantara, IS’s Malay Archipelago combat unit based in Syria.

“The Khatibah Nusantara consists of Malaysian and Indonesian Islamic State fighters. They band together as their language and interests are similar,” he said.

Last month, the Malaysian police said they were on alert for a potential terrorist attack. This followed a tip off stemming from the arrests of several alleged members of the Islamic State, news reports had said.

The U.S. embassy in Kuala Lumpur and Smart Traveler, the Australian government’s travel advisory site, had advised Americans and Australians to avoid a key district in Kuala Lumpur and its surrounding areas.

The threat of an attack was reportedly in retaliation for the Malaysian government’s crackdown against Islamic State militants.

Last month, police arrested 10 suspected Islamic State militants in multiple raids across the country, among them six members of the country’s security forces, a former interior designer and a kindergarten teacher.

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