KUALA LUMPUR - A 16-year-old schoolboy launched the first "lone cub" attack by the Islamic State (IS) on Malaysian soil when he brazenly tried to kidnap a sales assistant at a shopping complex in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
Wearing a headcover bearing the IS logo as a mask, the teen, armed with a 27cm knife and fake pistol, targeted the 27-year-old woman after casing the complex in Pekan Baru for two days.
Intelligence sources revealed that the young militant, a student at a private religious school, had intended to kidnap her.
"He held the woman at knifepoint and initially planned to kidnap her, to show that the terror group truly has a presence in Malaysia.
"In the middle of the attack, the suspect surprisingly told the victim to alert the police," the source said yesterday.
The source said the teenager did not even attempt to escape when the police arrived at the scene.
He was arrested and taken to the Kuala Muda district police headquarters.
"The authorities learnt that he had been influenced by the terror group since mid-2013.
"He viewed non-Muslims as kafir harbi (those that can be justifiably killed)," another source revealed.
The source warned that the teen's attack, while not resulting in any injury or fatality, was a sign of worse things to come.
"The suspect just wanted to prove a point. What the police have been preparing for and staying vigilant about has finally happened.
"Lone wolf attacks can be carried out anywhere and at any time. Thus, it is important to always be prepared with proper intelligence and information," the source said.
At a press conference in Bukit Aman, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the boy was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012.
"He was brainwashed into following Islamic State ideology through e-mail and social media, and wanted to prove that he was capable of such an act," he said.
Khalid said investigations revealed that the youth had no intention to hurt the woman, but only wanted to show that "he is a member and able to do what is asked by IS".
After the boy's arrest, the police found IS materials on him, including a book and a written sheet of paper.
He also had two jubah (robes), a kopiah (cap), a serban (headcover) and two newspaper clippings about the terror group in his slingbag.
They also seized a 27cm knife and the toy pistol.
Several members of the MCA Crisis Relief Squad also rushed to the store to provide assistance upon hearing about the incident. They arrived at about the same time as the policemen.