KUALA LUMPUR - A 19-year-old terror suspect who was detained for plotting to attack a beer festival in Malaysia has bomb-making expertise which rivals that of a now-deceased infamous Malaysian militant, according to a source.
The suspect was one of three men who were arrested last week for their plot to attack the Better Beer Festival in Kuala Lumpur and other targets in the Klang Valley.
The two others were a 35-year-old former army personnel and a 25-year-old contract worker.
A source said the skill and determination of the teenager, who was arrested in Kelantan along with the two others, reminded security forces of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant Azahari Hussein who masterminded the Bali bombing in 2002.
Following their arrest, the Malaysian police said on Tuesday they had seized five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which they had planned to use on their targets, PVC pipes as well as instructions on how to make the IEDs."The authorities believe the teen learned how to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from the Internet," the source said."But his attention to detail in constructing the bombs, down to the wiring and materials used, reminded them of Dr Azahari," added the source.
While the suspect had been plotting with two others reportedly in league with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, it is believed that the student was self-radicalised."Checks by the authorities revealed that he was not in contact with any known militant. However, he might have been influenced by the extremist doctrine practised by ISIS which sees Malaysia as a secular nation, and must be combated," another source said.
Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun had said on Tuesday that the IEDs seized each had a blast radius of 30m.
The Inspector-General of Police said the two other suspects both had ties to Malaysian militants Akel Zainal and Muhammad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi - who was killed in Syria in April."The suspects detonated one of the bombs on Sept 28, in a clearing behind one suspect's home but failed with another IED," he said."We seized three other IEDs that were already assembled - each is 5.5cm in diameter, 13cm long and contained explosives and ball bearings," he added.
Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi said the contract worker also has links to the "Gagak Hitam" terror cell responsible for bombing the Movida nightclub in Puchong, near Kuala Lumpur, in June last year.
He said the suspects were targeting entertainment outlets and non-Muslim places of worship in the Klang Valley, aside from the beer festival.
The Better Beer Festival, scheduled for Oct 6 and 7 at a shopping centre, was cancelled last month after Kuala Lumpur City Hall rejected the application to hold the event.
Mohamad Fuzi said police are investigating the possibility of more terror cell members at large. He attributed the success in stopping the attacks to hard work by the "unsung heroes in the Counter Terrorism Division led by Deputy Comm Datuk Ayob Khan".