Young Malaysian ISIS suicide bomber 'killed 14 in Syria'

Malaysian man Hasan Zakaria drove a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device into a group of Kurdistan Workers' Party soldiers and detonated the device in Syria on Nov 15, 2016.
Malaysian man Hasan Zakaria drove a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device into a group of Kurdistan Workers' Party soldiers and detonated the device in Syria on Nov 15, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR • A young Malaysian Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant in Syria carried out a suicide bombing in Syria last month that killed 14 Kurdish fighters and injured scores more, the New Straits Times has reported.

Hasan Zakaria, 25, drove a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device into a group of Kurdistan Workers' Party soldiers and detonated the device in a suicide mission in the south-west town of Ain Issa on Nov 15, the Bukit Aman Counter Terrorism Division (BA-CTD) has disclosed.

The death of Hasan, who also went by the nom de guerre Abu Adam, takes the number of Malaysian suicide bombers who have carried out strikes in Syria for ISIS to nine.

A 38-second video of the attack went viral on ISIS propaganda channels, including the ones run by the group's South-east Asian affiliates.

BA-CTD principal assistant director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that Hasan was earlier believed to have been killed a few months ago during a battle at close quarters with the Syrian army in northern Raqqa.

Hasan slipped out of the country with the help of his family, Datuk Ayob revealed. "Prior to his flight, he was stopped by the authorities. However, Hasan, who was with his whole family, argued that he was heading to Jakarta to send off his brother, who was furthering his studies," he said. "His parents, brother and sister even supported his alibi. But the minute he got to Indonesia, he boarded a flight to Turkey."

Hasan was previously a member of the Ajnad Al-Sham terror outfit, but joined ISIS after the death of its leader on Sept 14, 2014. He was among the first Malaysians to travel to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Meanwhile, three other Malaysians have died during clashes with the Syrian army. Among them was Haifi Abdul Halim, a remisier from Perak, who left for Syria on June 6 last year with his wife, Nur Athirah Abdul Rahim.

The other two were identified as Amirul Hakim Azhar, 26, and Abd Azeem Abd Satar, 33, who travelled with a group of 10 people to Syria between Nov 8 and Nov 16, 2014. They were members of an ISIS cell whose members were arrested for testing a bomb at Gunang Nuang.

There are currently 60 Malaysians in Syria. Besides the nine suicide bombers, 18 others have died fighting for ISIS, reported the New Straits Times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 18, 2016, with the headline 'Young Malaysian ISIS suicide bomber 'killed 14 in Syria''. Print Edition | Subscribe