3 Malaysian ISIS militants killed in airstrikes in Syria

Zainuri Kamaruddin, 50, also known as Abu Talhah, appeared in an ISIS video threatening attacks on places in Malaysia. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Three Malaysian militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including one shown in a video threatening attacks against Malaysia, have been killed in clashes with Syrian forces.

Based on an intelligence report received by the police, the three - Zainuri Kamaruddin, Ahmad Asyraf Arbee Ahmad Jamal Arbee and Sazrizal Mohd Sofian Tahyalan - were killed when Syrian forces carried out an air strike on the ISIS stronghold in Raqqah, Syria, on Friday (Jan 13).

The latest deaths bring to 30 the total number of Malaysian militants killed in Iraq and Syria, police said.

Zainuri, 50, also known as Abu Talhah, appeared in an ISIS video, threatening attacks on places in Malaysia. The video appeared weeks before the attack on the Movida nightclub in July last year.

In the video, which was circulated in May last year, Zainuri was seen holding a red passport while issuing threats of attacks, as other militants were holding green passports. The red passport is associated with Malaysia and the green ones with Indonesia.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division head Deputy Comm Datuk Ayob Khan said that after the threats were made, the militants, believed to be members of the Malay-speaking wing of ISIS, Katibah Nusantara, were seen burning their passports.

DCP Ayob said in the video, Zainuri, who is from Bota, Perak, had asked Malaysians to join the fight in Syria.

"Among others identified in the video were Sazrizal as well as Abd Halid Dari and Muhammad Nasrullah Abd Latif, also known as Abu Gomez," he said when contacted.

Zainuri was a former Kumpulan Mujahiddin Malaysia member and was detained in 2001 under the Internal Security Act. He was also involved in the armed robbery of Southern Bank Berhad in 2001.

He was among those actively recruiting Malaysians to join ISIS through social media as well as arranging their travel and safe passage into Syria, added DCP Ayob.

Thirty-one-year-old Ahmad Asyraf Arbee, also known as Abu Luqman Al Malizi, is from Shah Alam and believed to have left for Syria in 2014.

The third militant killed - 27-year-old Sazrizal - also known as Abu Badar Al Malizi, left for Syria in 2014 with his wife.

DCP Ayob said Sazrizal and his wife had worked as fruit pickers in Australia to save money for their trip to Syria.

"Among those with him in Australia was militant Mohamad Amirul Ahmad Rahim, who died in a suicide bomb attack by driving a truck full of explosives in Raqqah, Syria," he said.

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