KUALA LUMPUR: Four Malaysian Islamic State (IS) militants have reportedly stepped into the shoes of Muhd Wanndy Mohd Jedi as prime movers of the terror group's activities in Malaysia.
The four are Muhammad Rafiuddin, Akil Zainal, Muhammad Fuzail and Muhammad Zahar. Malaysia police special branch counter terrorism division chief Ayob Khan told Channel NewsAsia that they are still in Raqqa, Syria.
It did not take long for the four Malaysians to fill the vacuum left by IS leader Muhd Wanndy who was confirmed killed in a drone strike in Raqqa earlier this month by Malaysian police chief although they have never found his body, sources said.
The Star online reported, quoting Ayob, that the police with the assistance of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, had clamped down access to the group’s nearly 30 websites as well as its Facebook presence.
Ayob has warned that despite Wanndy’s death, the Salafi Jihadi ideology by IS was still active and continued to spread via social media despite losing significant ground in Syria and Iraq.
“They now target every level (of society), from school and university students, government staff, search and rescue personnel, members of the public, imam and university lecturers.” Ayob urged religious experts to play a role in stamping out the spread of the “Salafi Jihadi” ideology.
Of the four Malaysia IS operatives wanted by Malaysian police, the oldest was Muhammad Rafiuddin. Before joining IS in Syria, he was a member of the home grown terror grouping Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) dan Indonesia based Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Rafiuddin who also goes by the IS name Abu Aun al-Malysi, was from the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan.
He was reportedly shown in a video holding the head of a slain Kurdish soldier. In the video, he urged Malay Muslims to pledge allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi and launch attacks back home targeting the police by stabbing them in the chest.
Another well-known Malaysian IS operative Akil Zainal was a musician. He has more than 150,000 followers on his Facebook page.
Meanwhile another two, Muhammad Fuzail and Muhammad Zahar, were said to have acted as messengers for IS leaders in Syria and their supporters in Malaysia. Ayob said there were 56 Malaysian IS members in Syria, comprising 36 men and 20 women, aged between 4 and 50.
Eight of them returned to Malaysia and 31 had been killed.