Arrested Malaysian militants tested bombs in Kedah

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The authorities are continuing the search for the stash of two militant expert bomb makers arrested in Kedah recently, who had managed to conduct tests on their home-made explosives.

Intelligence sources told The Star that Malaysians Muhammad Syazani Mahzan and Muhamad Nuurul Amin Azizan managed to produce the explosives, believed to be Triacetone triperoxide (TATP), and even tested this near their homes in Kuala Muda, a town located in the northern Malaysian state.

"Authorities have strong indications that the duo have managed to test their weapons. It is fortunate that the militants were caught before they could use the explosives on their targets," a source said.

The authorities also believe that the two suspects had hidden various materials and chemicals to make bombs, including TATP.

Produced by mixing acetone and hydrogen peroxide, TATP is a high-impact explosive that can be easily manufactured with readily accessible reagents and is extremely difficult to detect.

"It can destroy and kill anything or anyone within a 25m to 50m radius," a source said. "TATP is usually fitted into a pipe bomb, which can be detonated remotely via a safety fuse. It is commonly used by terrorists in Thailand and Indonesia."

The most recent example of the use of TATP was the coordinated suicide bombings by a single family on three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia, in May last year.

The family of six, including a nine-year-old girl, killed at least 13 people. A police station was also targeted during the bombings.

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said that both Muhammad Syazani and Muhamad Nuurul Amin had gone for bomb-making training in Yogyakarta in 2018 conducted by the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah Indonesia terror group.

"Both suspects also cased a few churches in Yogyakarta for potential targets. Muhammad Syazani also planned to target a non-Muslim house of worship in Malaysia via a suicide bomb attack," Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid said.

Both militants were among three men detained in an anti-terror swoop in Kedah and Selangor on May 14 by the Counter Terrorism Division (E8). The third man is Indonesian Nuruddin Alele, alias  Fatin Tir.

"The Indonesian suspect was planning to flee the country once his terror plans were successful. He was planning to head to Indonesia via illegal jetties around Banting," a source said.

According to the sources, only the Indonesian militant belonged to a wolf pack while the Malaysians had links but belonged to another cell.

It was reported last Monday that four members of an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) wolf pack cell were detained in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley.

They were planning to assassinate four VIPs and target non-Muslim houses of worship in the Klang Valley as well as entertainment outlets.

Six improvised explosive devices were also seized during the raids along with a CZ 9mm pistol and 15 bullets.

Since February 2013, a total of 488 militants have been detained, while the E8 thwarted 25 terror plots in the country.

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