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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Police warn of deadly ‘third wave’ Isis threat in Malaysia

Isis has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including dozens from Malaysia, lured by the militant group's call for jihad. – AFP file pic, May 28, 2015.Isis has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including dozens from Malaysia, lured by the militant group's call for jihad. – AFP file pic, May 28, 2015.
After the first two "waves" of threats from the militant Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) in Malaysia, police say they are now bracing for the third wave: the execution of planned attacks on local targets.
Principal assistant director of Bukit Aman's Counter Terrorism Division, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said recent arrests by the counter terrorism units have uncovered more cells.
Each cell consisted of about 20 members or even fewer, and had plans to carry out different types of terror acts in the country such as kidnappings and bombings, said Ayob, adding that the third wave could happen if the number of cells continued to grow.
Ayob had previously told The Malaysian Insider about the first wave of Malaysians joining Isis forces in Syria, which included young families with children who felt that Malaysia was not Islamic enough.
“We have reached the first wave and second wave. The first wave was where our nationalities went abroad to join in the fight with Isis, the second wave is when they are at a stage of learning to execute attacks in the country.
"We are concerned about the third wave. It is when they are ready to launch attacks, which is already happening abroad,” Ayob said in an interview.
Social media websites such as Facebook have been Isis's favourite recruiting tools to lure Malaysians to join the group. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 31, 2015.Social media websites such as Facebook have been Isis's favourite recruiting tools to lure Malaysians to join the group. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 31, 2015.Such incidents abroad have been "lone wolf" attacks, he added, carried out by a single individual against security personnel and has happened in Canada, Britain and the United States.
Ayob said these attacks followed calls by Isis top leaders to their foreign sympathisers not to come to Syria to fight, but to launch attacks in their own countries.
While a lone wolf attack has not happened in Malaysia, Ayob said security forces were "working round the clock" on intelligence gathering to prevent such a possibility.
One challenge in intelligence work stemmed from the fact that the small cells move as separate entities although they have a common goal.
“The structure is getting smaller. The type of activities are more severe,” said Ayob, citing as examples the April arrests of Malaysians involved in two cells, one over plans to kidnap prominent personalities, and the other over plans to bomb government buildings.
He said both groups were not linked to each other and worked independently on their common goal to eliminate Isis enemies.
Last month, police detained six men, including Indonesian Ali Saifuddin, who is suspected to be an arms expert with experience in the Southeast Asian militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah.
The six, allegedly led by Murad Halimmuddin Hassan, 48, and his son Abu Daud, 25, were charged in a Kedah court on April 30 with being "party to a conspiracy to promote terror in Malaysia".
They were part of a group of 17 suspected of plotting the kidnapping of high profile figures.
Another 12 people were arrested in late April for possession of bomb-making materials with plans to strike at strategic locations around the country.
Six of them have been charged, while the rest are still under detention.
- TMI

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