Malaysia: IS Behind Nightclub Blast, Authorities Confirm

Hata Wahari
Kuala Lumpur
160704_MY_attack_620.jpg Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar shows a picture of two suspects wanted for involvement in a June 28 blast at the Movida nightclub just outside Kuala Lumpur.
Courtesy Royal Malaysian Police

A Malaysian member of the so-called Islamic State (IS) based in Syria masterminded a hand grenade attack in the Malaysian capital area last week, authorities said Monday.

The June 28 attack at the Movida nightclub in Puchong, a town just south of Kuala Lumpur, injured eight people, including a female Chinese national.

In a press briefing Monday, Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar described the incident as the first successful IS attack on Malaysian soil, and said the terror group was planning more attacks in the country.

"The two men who carried out the attack were also targeting senior leadership of the country, top police officers and senior members of the judiciary,” Khalid was quoted saying in The Star, an English-language daily.

"They were receiving instructions directly from IS militant Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi from Syria," he added.

On the day of the attack, June 28, a Malaysian man who is fighting in Syria for IS posted a message on Facebook, claiming members of the extremist group were responsible for attack.

The screenshot of the message was posted on the social media site by Abu Hamza Al-Fateh, better known as Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi. The Facebook post is no longer visible.

Earlier, Malaysian authorities said the attack likely stemmed from a “business rivalry” between organized criminal gangs, or may have been an act of vengeance.

15 arrests

Since the attack, authorities had carried out a series of 15 arrests in five states, including two police officers, Khalid said.

"Among those arrested, two of them are low-level police officers in Kedah and Penang. One of them had planned to carry out robberies to help fund an IS cell while the other was protecting a senior IS member from detection," Khalid was quoted as saying in The Star.

The 15 suspects ranged in age from 19 to 52. Seven were nabbed in the state of Kedah, four in Selangor, two in Kuala Lumpur, one in Penang and one in Malacca, he said.

Two men arrested at a factory in Port Klang in Selangor state on July 1 are the ones who threw the grenade onto the patio of the Movida nightclub during the screening of a Euro 2016 football match, Khalid said. He did not identify the suspects.

"We believe they got the grenade, an old model used in World War II, from a neighboring country," he said.

Investigations revealed that the suspects had been recruited and given instructions on the attacks through social media, according to officials.

Malaysian police were on the lookout for two more men allegedly linked to the bombing, identified as Md Saifuddin Muji, 28, and Jasanizam Rosni, 33.

The latest arrests brought to 208 the number of people arrested in Malaysia for alleged links to IS. Of these, 64 had been charged in court, according to police statistics.


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