Malaysia looking into reports that Filipino militant financed IS strike in Selangor

11-Oct-2017 Intellasia | Agencies | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Malaysian authorities are exploring possible links between the man wanted in the United States for terror plots on New York City and the Islamic State’s (IS) first terror strike in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the police takes a serious view of reports suggesting 37-year-old Filipino orthopaedic surgeon Russell Salic had financed the 2016 grenade attack on the nightclub in Selangor that injured eight people.

“We have no details about this and we cannot say yes or no except we may need to interview Salic to get further details. We will check and investigate because this is an allegation, very serious matter. I cannot confirm at this moment,” he told Malay Mail Online, adding that the police will do whatever it takes to verify the information.

However, Mohamad Fuzi declined to commit when asked if Malaysia would seek to extradite Salic.

“That one is a long process, not an easy process,” he said, adding that the first thing the authorities would do is to check if they could secure an interview with Salic.

TODAY attempted to get more details from Mohamad Fuzi and counter-terrorism unit director Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, but both did not respond to calls and messages.

Salic, who has been in Philippines custody since April, is wanted by US prosecutors after he and two other were indicted over a plan to conduct bombings and shootings in Times Square, New York’s subway system and concert venues in the name of IS.

The attacks were planned for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in 2016, US prosecutors said when they announced the charges on Friday.

One alleged plotter is already in US custody while the second is in Pakistani custody.

Salic also had links to the Maute group, which since May had been occupying parts of the Philippines’ Islamic city of Marawi in a bid to establish an IS caliphate in South-east Asia.

“He was among those who were treating wounded members of the Maute group,” military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo told AFP.

Several news agencies in the US, UK and the Philippines have cited US federal court filings naming Salic as the financier of numerous other global terror activities.

The man known to militants as “Abu Khalid” and alternately “The Doctor” had allegedly told an undercover FBI agent posing as an Islamic extremist that his ultimate goal was to join the IS group in Syria but that “it would be a great pleasure if we can slaughter” people in New York, the documents said.

He also said his country was “a breeding ground for terrorists”.

The Philippines is preparing to extradite him to the US, following a request from Washington, said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre.

“We have to begin the extradition proceedings being requested,” Aguirre said in a statement, without giving a timeframe. “We have a process to be followed and this has been done many times in the past.”

Philippines’ paper The Manila Times on Sunday reported that Salic wired over sums ranging from $180 (S$245) to $583 to several countries during February 2015 and June 2016, including Malaysia, Australia, Syria and Lebanon.

He was also reported to have wired $426.30 to a man named Jasanisam Rosni in Johor on June 24, 2016, just days before the grenade blast at the Malaysian nightclub.

That was the first attack by IS on Malaysian soil, marking a breakthrough by IS after numerous plots had been thwarted by the authorities.

Jasanisam, initially one of the suspects in the nightclub blast, was sentenced in April to three years in jail for plotting a terror attack against a temple and nightclubs in Johor Baru.

“I believe that the Malaysia transfer (of funds)… is consistent with the statement of Abu Khalid indicating that he was involved in funding not only the (New York City plot), but also the activities of other (IS) supporters in other countries,” The Manila Times cited an unnamed FBI agent as saying in a report that was part of the US court filings.

No other IS-linked terror plots have been successfully carried out in Malaysia since the nightclub attack.

Local police have boosted security measures with a series of arrests against suspected militants and thwarted several terror plots, including during the recent SEA Games closing ceremony and the 60th National Day parade.

Malaysia has been on high alert since suicide bombers and gunmen linked to the IS launched multiple attacks in Jakarta in January last year.

The authorities have stepped up efforts to prevent IS lone-wolf terrorists from coming together to stage bigger attacks in the country, deputy Home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed previously told TODAY.

Since 2013, more than 260 militants have been put behind bars by the Malaysian authorities.


Category: Malaysia

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