Bukit Aman: Ex-rock band drummer among two Malaysian IS fighters killed in Syria this year

G.prakash
Malaysian authorities previously swore to crack down on Akel Zainal (pic) and other Malaysian IS fighters abroad if they ever returned home. — Picture via Facebook

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 — Two Malaysians with the Islamic State (IS) world terror network were killed in a Russian air strike in Syria this year, according to police intelligence reports.

Counter-terrorism chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said intelligence reports received by Bukit Aman from its foreign counterparts indicated that Akel Zainal — a former drummer of defunct 1990s rock band The Ukays — his wife and two children died in their Syrian home during the March air strike.

“Based on the information we gathered, Akel along with his wife, his three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were reportedly killed in the airstrikes.

“One of the airstrikes hit his home. At that time, a Belgium militant with him was also killed,” the principal assistant director of Bukit Aman’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division told Malay Mail when contacted today.

Akel has been under Malaysian police watch since 2014 when he was first said to have been part of the Syrian militant movement.

He was reported to have taken on a leadership role and actively recruited other Malaysians to fight for the IS in Syria following the death of another Malaysian militant, Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi in April 2017.

The other Malaysian killed in a Russian air strike on Syria last January was Mohd Rafi Udin, 53, He was also known as Abu Ain and Abu Awn al-Malisi.

Malaysian authorities previously swore to crack down on Akel and other Malaysian IS fighters abroad if they ever returned home.

Counter-terrorism chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said intelligence reports received by Bukit Aman from its foreign counterparts indicated that Akel Zainal, his wife and two children died in their Syrian home during the March air strike. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Ayob said both air strikes took place near Baghouz, a town on the Iraqi border and the last IS bastion in Syria. 

The senior Malaysian policeman said Mohd Rafi was featured in an IS propaganda video in 2016 alongside an Indonesian and a Filipino participated in decapitations.

They each beheaded a Middle Eastern-looking prisoner. It was the first time Southeast Asian IS fighters have been filmed carrying out beheadings.

Akel travelled to Syria after being influenced by another Malaysian identified as Ustaz Lofti Ariffin. 

Ustaz Lotfi, formerly an Internal Security Act detainee, was the third Malaysian to die in the war in 2014.

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