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Monday, January 11, 2016

Two Malaysian suicide bombers kill 33

(from left) Mohd Amirul Ahmad Rahim, Mohamad Syazwan Mohd Salim and his brother, Muhamad Shazani Mohd Salim
KUALA LUMPUR - Two Malaysians suicide bombers blew themselves up, killing more than 30 others during their assigned missions in Syria and Iraq last week.

The New Straits Times learnt that Terengganu-born Mohd Amirul Ahmad Rahim set off the bombs that he had on him and in the car he was in during clashes at the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa on Dec 29.

Sources told the NST that Amirul, 26, had left his family in Malaysia for Syria in October 2014 to be part of the global terrorist group.

Amirul, who went by the nom de guerre Abu Uqashah Malizi, died on the day IS launched an offensive on the 44th Syrian Democratic Forces coalition, near Ain Issa, which saw 21 Kurdish fighters killed.

IS members from Malaysia serving in Syria and Iraq would usually have “Malizi” attached to their nom de guerre.

Amirul was among at least 16 fighters from IS who were killed by Arab and Kurdish forces during attacks from the alliance, made up of units from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Arab fighters.

The Raqqa attack was among several major operations against IS.

On Dec 26, the forces seized the Tishreen Dam from IS along with several villages on the Euphrates’ eastern bank.

The dam, held by IS since 2014, generates electricity for large parts of the northern Aleppo province.

It was the alliance’s second major operation, after forcing out IS from some 200 villages in the northeastern province of Hasakeh.

Amirul’s death came five days before another Malaysian blew himself up in Tikrit, Iraq.

It was learnt that Mohamad Syazwan Mohd Salim, who carried out his mission on the night of Jan 3, was one of seven suicide bombers who had made their way to a police training centre at Speicher military base, some 160 km, north of Baghdad.

They had targeted a large group of police forces from the northern province of Nineveh, who were undergoing training.

It is understood that Shazwan, along with the other bombers, were shot by their targets.

The source said the 31-year-old was among those who detonated their suicide vests that killed 12 policemen, including three officers.

Twenty others were wounded.

It is understood that the two Malaysians were among those who had been recruited by the IS to be trained as suicide bombers.

Until recently, Malaysians who joined IS set up rarely ended up as frontline fighters.

It was reported that they, along with several other nationals including from India, would usually be given menial tasks, including as cooks or cleaners.

Over several months, however, they slowly moved up the ladder.

Syazwan left his hometown in Selangor with his younger brother, Muhamad Shazani Mohd Salim, 28, on Sept 23, 2014, via Istanbul, Turkey, to join IS.

It was reported that Shazani, known as Abu Aydan among his comrades, first served as a cleaner before he was recruited as a sniper and suicide bomber.

He died in a suicide mission on Sept 18 last year in Bayji, in northern Iraq, during a skirmish with Iraqi forces.

The source said both brothers were trained in the Khatibah Nusantara cell in Syria for their suicide operations.

On Facebook, IS supporters, including those in the country, celebrated the death of the duo, hailing them as the “chosen ones” and that they had been martyred.

Amirul and Syazwan’s death brings the total number of Malaysians with IS links killed to 17.

Of the number, six had served as suicide bombers. while the rest died during battles.

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