IS supporters in Malaysia now working in 'wolf packs'

KUALA LUMPUR: In the past, Islamic State (IS) supporters in the country was typically categorised as lone wolves, but now investigators have coined a new term, “wolf pack” for groups in the country comprising of a small number of people.

The wolf pack, comprises of not more than six members, with no links to other IS members or groups.

The Federal police’s Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) has so far detected only one wolf pack in the country, which was intercepted when they planned attacks during the Better Beer Festival 2017, which had initially been scheduled to take place at Publika in Hartamas, various non-Muslim places of worship; and entertainment outlets.

The pack comprised of three people- a 19-year-old Form Six student, former soldier and a contractor were nabbed by counter-terrorism operatives in Kelantan on Oct 10 for alleged ties with the militant group.

The Federal police’s Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay speaks to media in Kuala Lumpur. Pic by NURUL SYAZANA ROSE RAZMAN

The trio were believed to have been experimenting with homemade bombs, otherwise called improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

E8’s assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the successful interception was made due to intelligence.

“Without good and accurate intel, its almost impossible for us to track these wolf packs which have started moving in small groups. Its no longer a network sort of group but are individual cell groups on their own. Although the IS headquarters in Raqqa and Syria have been destroyed, the ideology is still widely spread.

“For instance the 19-year-old, he has never been to Syria, but he was influenced through IS’s Facebook and he learnt how to make bombs through websites,” he said in a press conference.

Ayob said these days, sympathisers learnt by themselves instead of being recruited by the terrorists. Those who were interested to join would look for websites and blogs which were accessible to learn the ideology.

“Everything you need to know is just a click away, so these people do not need to rely on senior militants or leadership for that matter. They just need to gather a few like-minded people and start attack plans,” he said, advising the public to stay clear of such illegal and deviant practices. —Reporting by Kalbana Perimbanayagam, Hani Shamira Shahrudin, Muhammad Zafran Khushairi, Muhammad Shafiq Muslim and Fathur Rezky Zuliyus.


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