Group planned thefts and kidnappings to fund activities

Group planned thefts and kidnappings to fund activities
Abu Daud (left) had also suggested that they kidnap a few of the country’s leaders and use the hostages in exchange for the freedom of those detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.
PHOTO: The Star/ANN

KUALA LUMPUR - By day, he was a hardware store owner. By night, he was scheming and planning dangerous attacks on Malaysians to fund terrorism.

The father of seven began his terror mission by exiting Malaysia through Bukit Kayu Hitam and then flying to Istanbul from Bangkok on Aug 31 last year.

Murad Halimmuddin Hassan then sneaked into Syria in September through the Turkey-Syria border with the help of another Malaysian, Abu Nour.

In Syria, he joined the Ajmad As-Syams militant group before signing up with the Islamic State terror movement's army.

The 49-year-old, who was detained under the Internal Security Act in 2001 for trying to steal firearms from a police station in Kedah, was provided with guns to fight against the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Syria.

Three months later, he returned to Malaysia through the same route and started his own mission of terror in this country.

During a meeting on Jan 30, following Murad Halimmuddin's suggestion that they launch a jihad mission in Malaysia, a group of individuals, including his son Abu Daud Murad Halimmuddin, 25, pledged to recruit at least 20 others.

They had reportedly been targeting key government points or landmarks, including police stations and army camps, as well as vice spots, and planning to kidnap a few high-profile individuals as hostages to be swapped with detainees under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.

They also discussed staging a robbery at the army's Hobart Camp in Gurun and another camp in Bukit Pinang in Alor Setar to get into a military arsenal.

Abu Daud, a businessman, then created a WhatsApp chat group called "Fisabilillah" to facilitate their planning and progress in recruiting the 20 others.

A few more meetings were held in other locations nationwide, including Casmaria Apartment in Batu Caves in February and Banjaria Court in Gombak on March 13.

Abu Daud then told some of the group's members to head to Pendang, Kedah, to meet his father and get his advice on their next move.

During the Pendang meeting, Murad Halimmuddin suggested that they rob a security van carrying cash on its way down from Genting Highlands to fund their mission.

The next meeting was scheduled to take place at a hotel here on April 5, but Murad Halimmuddin could not attend as he was not well.

It was during this meeting that Bukit Aman's Counter Terrorism Division (E8) detained 12 people at about 9.30pm.

On April 30, six of them were charged at a Sessions Court here with promoting acts of terrorism.

The others charged were Abu Daud, RMAF personnel Nor Azmi Jalani, 28, and Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof, 29, Ali Saifuddin, 28, a wireman from Jawa Tengah, Indonesia, and Hadharami Hashim, 38, a tahfiz assistant from Sik, Kedah.

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