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    Jan 12, 2016

    17 Malaysians died for ISIS, including 6 suicide bombers


    TWO Malaysian suicide bombers blew themselves up and killed more than 30 rival fighters and policemen in the Middle East recently, bringing the number of Malaysians who died for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group to 17, the New Straits Times (NST) reported yesterday.

    Mohd Amirul Ahmad Rahim, 26, from Terengganu and Mohamad Syazwan Mohd Salim, 31, from Selangor carried out their suicide attacks in Syria and Iraq respectively, said the newspaper.

    Amirul was among 16 ISIS militants who died in an engagement with Arab and Kurdish fighters from the multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces on Dec 29 near Ain Issa, a town about 48km from Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold, said NST.

    He was reported to have set off bombs strapped to his body and his car, killing 21 Kurds.

    Citing sources, NST said Amirul, who went by the noms de guerre Abu Uqashah Malizi, left his family in Malaysia for Syria in October 2014 to join ISIS.

    According to NST, ISIS members from Malaysia serving in Syria and Iraq would usually have the word "Malizi" attached to their noms de guerre.

    Five days later, on the night of Jan 3, Syazwan and six other suicide bombers made their way to a police training centre in Speicher military base near Tikrit, about 160km north of Baghdad.

    They managed to detonate their suicide vests and killed 12 policemen, including three officers, before being shot, according to sources.

    Syazwan left Malaysia with his younger brother Mohammed Shazani, 28, to join ISIS in September 2014.

    Shazani first served as a cleaner with ISIS before being trained as a sniper and suicide bomber.

    He died in a suicide mission on Sept 18 last year in Bayji, northern Iraq, during a skirmish with Iraqi forces.

    Sources said both brothers were trained by the Khatibah Nusantara cell, a Malay combat unit based in Syria for their suicide operations.

    Among ISIS' 17 Malaysian casualties, six were killed as suicide bombers and the rest during battles.

    Until recently, Malaysians who joined ISIS were rarely made frontline fighters, said NST.

    It was reported that Malaysians, along with several other nationals including from India, would usually be given menial tasks such as cooking and cleaning.

    Recently, however, Malaysians were roped in for combat.

    Some 72 Malaysians, including 14 women, have been identified to have joined ISIS, according to Turkey's Anadolu news agency. As of December, seven had returned home and were arrested.