PETALING JAYA: Former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Mohd Lotfi Ariffin has become the third Malaysian to die in war-torn Syria.
Sources said the Kuala Ketil-born Mohd Lotfi, 46, was severely injured on his left arm and head as missiles rained on a militant base in east Hama on Tuesday morning.
In the same attack, 21-year-old Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir was also killed. Fadhlan was said to be the youngest Malaysian fighting in Syria.
During the attack, Syrian jet fighters and tanks fired on the militant base.
Following the attack, Mohd Lotfi, who allegedly fought for the Ajnad As Syam movement, was transported to a hospital in Hatay, Turkey.
“Doctors tried their best to save him. He succumbed to his injuries shortly after Maghrib prayers on Saturday,” a source told The Star yesterday.
It is learnt that Mohd Lotfi’s body will be buried in Turkey.
The other Malaysian militant killed in Syria was Zainan Harith, also known as Abu Turob, who was fatally wounded during a clash in Hama on Aug 19.
Pahang-born Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki gained notoriety as the first Malaysian suicide bomber to be killed abroad.
He reportedly drove a military SUV filled with tonnes of explosives into the Iraqi SWAT headquarters in al-Anbar, Iraq in May, blowing himself up and killing 25 elite soldiers.
“It can be said that those who went to fight in the so-called Jihadists cause are very similar to each other. They are willing to do almost anything to justify their false jihad,” a source said.
The Star previously reported that Mohd Lotfi, the former Kedah PAS Youth information chief was on a do-or-die mission in Syria but – he claimed on his Facebook posting – he was not a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) terror network.
According to his elder brother Zainon Ariffin, 52, Mohd Lotfi went to Syria to fight for a “cause”.
He has eight children aged between eight months and 17 years. His youngest son was barely two months old when Mod Lotfi left for Syria in January.
He did not return home when his 41-year-old brother died of a heart attack in March.
In an exclusive, The Star reported that Mohd Lotfi was among 40 Malaysians, including four other ex-ISA detainees, who had gone to the war zone where multiple factions are vying for supremacy.
The other four former ISA detainees were former Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM) members Zainuri Kamaruddin and Rafi Udin, along with former Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operative Samad Shukri and Zid Saharani Mohamad Esa.
Mohd Lotfi was held under the ISA from August 2001 to September 2003 for his involvement in KMM.
In the early 1990s, Mohd Lotfi had undergone weapons training in Afghanistan and was involved in two separate conflcits – in Tajikistan and Poso Sulawesi in Indonesia.
Together with his KMM brethren Zainuri, Adnan Daud and wanted terrorist Zulkifli Abd Hir, Mohd Lotfi was involved in the weapons raid on the Guar Cempedak police station before he was arrested in 2001.
According to intelligence sources, the KMM was formed to pursue the objective of setting up an Islamic state in Malaysia.
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