M’sian IS member killed in Iraq airstrike

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PETALING JAYA: A Malaysian Islamic State (IS) member who had plans to one day carry out an attack in Malaysia was instead killed in an airstrike in Iraq.

Bukit Aman’s Counter-Terrorism Unit Head Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, speaking to FMT, said the Malaysian, Mohd Syam Hashim, was killed in an airstrike by American-led Coalition forces in the Bayji district last Sunday.

The 37-year-old Kedahan is survived by his wife and teenage daughter.

“We believe he went to join the terrorist group in Syria on Sept 16, 2014, with four other Malaysians,” said Ayob.

He added that the deceased, who went by the name of Abu Syamil after joining the IS, had also established contact with several other Malaysians through Facebook, in an attempt to recruit them.

“Based on the intelligence we gathered, Mohd Syam had expressed his intention to seek martyrdom in Malaysia if the country ever became a site of war and chaos.”

Mohd Syam’s death has made him the 20th Malaysian IS member killed in Iraq and Syria.

“Seven died through the act of suicide bombing, while 13 others were killed in combat,” said Ayob.

Last Friday, a video published by the largest terror group was released online, featuring the first known Malaysian IS fighter in Syria, who threatened to hunt down police personnel of Bukit Aman.

In the propaganda video, three Southeast Asian IS fighters in Syria – the Malaysian identified by police as Mohd Rafi Udin from Negeri Sembilan, a Filipino and an Indonesian – took turns to urge IS supporters in their home countries to stage attacks on the public.

Ayob himself was reported to have said that Malaysian police were “preparing for potential attacks within six months by two sources, Khatibah Nusantara in the Philippines, and central IS.”