PETALING JAYA - Contrary to popular belief, Malaysian suicide bomber Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki never attended a religious school.
Ahmad Tarmimi, 26, who gained posthumous notoriety for killing 25 elite Iraqi soldiers last month, was unlikely to have been "indoctrinated" with an extremist mindset in his early years.
Sources said his father died when he was six and he was left an orphan at nine when he lost his mother.
Ahmad Tarmimi received his early education at national primary and secondary schools in Jerantut until he was 14 and later enrolled in the Pahang Vocational Institute to pursue automotive industry-related studies.
The sources said he then moved to Selangor where he sold coconut milk and then worked at a supermarket in Subang Bestari.
Ahmad Tarmimi's last job was at a factory in Selangor.
Late last year, he reportedly went through militant training in Port Dickson before making his way to Syria and later to Iraq.
Halimah, his 34-year-old sister who took care of him until he left vocational school, was shocked to learn that he was involved in a suicide mission. She had last seen him in March.
The sources said Ahmad Tarmimi, the youngest of eight siblings, had kept pretty much to himself in the months before joining the mission that was linked to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
He was reportedly the Malaysian suicide bomber who blew up the soldiers at Iraq's SWAT headquarters in al-Anbar on May 26.
Ahmad Tarmimi's involvement with international militants was only exposed after this incident and ISIL highlighted his purported martyrdom on its website.
His family has yet to receive a death certificate from Wisma Putra.