KUALA LUMPUR: The death of Islamic State militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi on April 29 has left a vacuum in the leadership among Malaysian militants, with several militants vying to become leader.
The Star reported that senior Islamic State (IS) militants Mohd Rafi Udin, Akel Zainal, Zahar Abdullah and Muhammad Fudhail Omar were possible candidates.
It quoted Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Deputy Comm Ayob Khan as saying one of the four militants could take over Wanndy’s place.
“They have been with the IS since early 2014, and went to Syria the same year. We will monitor the development closely,” he was quoted as saying.
Although he does not expect any backlash from Wanndy’s death, Ayob said the possibility of an attack was always there and police were on the alert.
One of those eyeing the post is Akel Zainal, whose real name is Wan Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, 38. He has been actively recruiting young Malaysians to fight with him in Syria.
“He is a former musician, and has at least 15,000 followers on Facebook. He has a certain degree of influence among the IS cells in Malaysia,” The Star quoted a source as saying.
Mohd Rafi, 51, also known as Abu Awn Al-Malizi, has been calling for attacks against secular governments and its leaders.
He was featured in an IS video last year beheading a Middle Eastern-looking prisoner.
He has been a militant since his Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia days in 2001, and even joined Jemaah Islamiyah before heading to Syria to join IS, according to the report.
Muhammad Fudhail, 25, and Zahar, 36, have been known to issue orders to IS terror cells in Malaysia.
“The authorities discovered that a certain number of Malaysian militants have been in contact with the duo and received orders from them. They are also actively fighting in Syria for the IS,” The Star quoted the sources as saying.