Islamic State declares war on Malaysia

Ayob Khan Mydin

PETALING JAYA: Zainuri Kamaruddin, a former Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) leader known for several attempted murders and his involvement in armed bank robberies, has announced the Islamic State’s (IS) plan to “lead a charge” against Malaysia.

According to a report in The New Straits Times (NST), Zainuri said in a newly released IS propaganda video that he and his men were part of a “righteous army”, and said that the Malay archipelago would someday be swarming with an army of IS fighters who would bring the fight home, particularly to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Zainuri, 49, leads the Malay-speaking IS arm Katibah Nusantara, and are currently fighting in Syria under the IS banner.

The IS has declared Malaysia and its people as “taghut” (“sinners” or those against the teachings of Allah) and must be fought, Zainuri said in the video.

Federal police Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said police were monitoring IS sympathisers in the country, especially Zainuri, who once served time for possession of firearms and explosives.

Zainuri left the country in April 2014 to join IS in Syria, and escaped an ambush by the Syrian army in August with only injuries to the neck and thigh. His comrade, Zainan Harith, 52, also a former KMM member, was killed.

To this group (IS), basically everyone in the country, save for their supporters, be it our religious scholars or leaders, those with parties with Islam as their pillar, are all sinners who must be fought at all costs,” Zainuri said in the video.

Ayob Khan said that counter-terrorism operatives knew exactly who was now in Syria, and were therefore preparing for the worst as IS’s influence in the region was growing stronger.

“The increasing trend in statistics involving IS in the region is an indication of the increasing strength in their footing in the region,” he said.

“Our guard is up…there is the northern border that is so vast, the influence from IS alliances in southern Philippines and possible lone-wolf attacks.”

There were three other Malaysians in the 16-minute video – Muhammad Nashrullah Abd Latif, 24, from Grik, Perak; Sazrizal Mohd Sofian, 26, from Seri Kembangan, Selangor, and Abd Khalid Dari, 54, from Sik, Kedah.

“At this point in time, we are comforted in knowing that many IS supporters here do not have the technical and practical know-how in planning and staging terror attacks,” Ayob said, according to NST.

Ayob said one particular area of expertise the members lacked was bomb-making, and that they had not been able to practice their rudimentary skills gleaned from the Internet.

“We have reason to believe that they could be picking up this skill from those across the border. IS supporters here are trying to establish contact with IS elements from areas like southern Philippines,” the daily quoted Ayob as saying. – FMT

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