World

Teen who targeted Malaysia beer festival a skilled bomb-maker

Student, 19, learnt how to make improvised explosive devices from the Internet

KUALA LUMPUR: A 19-year-old terror suspect who was detained for plotting to attack a beer festival in Malaysia has bomb-making expertise that rivals that of a now-dead infamous Malaysian militant, according to a source.

He was one of three males arrested last week for their plot to attack the Better Beer Festival in Kuala Lumpur and other targets in the Klang Valley.

The two others were a 35-year-old former army personnel and 25-year-old contract worker.

A source said the skill and determination of the teenager, who was arrested in Kelantan along with the two others, reminded security forces of the Jemaah Islamiah militant Azahari Hussein, who masterminded the Bali bombing in 2002.

Following the arrest, the Malaysian police said on Tuesday they had seized five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) the trio had planned to use on their targets, PVC pipes and instructions on how to make the IEDs.

"The authorities believe that the teenager learnt how to make IEDs from the Internet," the source said.

"But his attention to detail in constructing the bombs, down to the wiring and materials used, reminded them of Dr Azahari."

While the teenager had been plotting with two others reportedly in league with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group, it is believed that he was self-radicalised.

BLAST RADIUS

Malaysian police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun had said on Tuesday that the IEDs seized each had a blast radius of 30m.

He said the two other suspects had ties to Malaysian militants Akel Zainal and Muhammad Wanndy Mohamad Jedi, who was killed in Syria in April.

"The suspects detonated one of the bombs on Sept 28, in a clearing behind one suspect's home, but failed with another IED," he said.

"We seized three other IEDs that were already assembled - each is 5.5cm in diameter, 13cm long and contained explosives and ball bearings."

He said the contract worker also has links to the "Gagak Hitam" terror cell responsible for bombing the Movida nightclub in Puchong, near Kuala Lumpur, in June last year.

He said the suspects were targeting entertainment outlets and non-Muslim places of worship in the Klang Valley, aside from the beer festival.

The Better Beer Festival, scheduled for Oct 6 and 7 at a shopping centre, was cancelled last month after its application to hold the event was rejected.

Mr Mohamad Fuzi said police are investigating the possibility of more terror cell members at large. - THE STAR/ANN

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