Malaysian militant leader killed in Syria air strikes

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysian Islamic State (IS) leader, Muhammad Fudhail Omar (pic), has been killed in an air strike in Raqa, Syria.

It is learnt that the 25-year-old militant was killed during the Syrian security forces' offensive against the terror group in June.

Shortlisted as a possible replacement for slain notorious militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi, the former NGO member went to Syria on May 2, 2014.

"He had close connections with Wanndy. Fudhail's age is similar to Wanndy and he had the capability to recruit those aged between 25 and 35," a source told The Star yesterday.

It is believed that aspiring militants were often diverted to Fudhail on Facebook when they tried to establish connection to another militant Akel Zainal or others.

Sources said Fudhail, who was born in Baling, Kedah, was not married.

"Security forces were able to arrest two of his brothers for supporting and transferring funds to Fudhail.

"Fudhail travelled and started his operation in Syria in early 2015. He also provided instructions to kill police personnel and backed the suggestion of IS supporters to conduct attacks in strategic locations, including Bukit Aman," the source said.

Several Malaysian IS militants detained in Malaysian were found to be receiving orders from Fudhail.

The Star reported in May that Fudhail along with other senior IS militants Mohd Rafi Udin, Akel and Zahar Abdullah were shortlisted as possible candidates to become the top Malaysian militant following Wanndy's death on April 29.

When contacted, Bukit Aman Special Branch Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed Fudhail's death.

"We received information that he was killed last month.

"As for the other three militants, we believe they are holding out in Raqa but they are feeling the pressure of the Syrian security forces," he said.

Comm Mohamad Fuzi did not ruled out the possibility that Malaysian militants in Iraq and Syria were considering Mindanao as possible point of retreat.

"It is only a matter of time before Raqa falls.

"We believe they are not returning to Malaysia but considering southern Philippines as their last bastion," he said.