The police regard the threat of Islamic State (IS) ‘lone wolf’ terror attacks as more dangerous than the militant body’s group strikes, said Bukit Aman Special Branch director Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
Lone wolf refers to individuals who live and act alone, and are easily influenced and capable of going beyond the limit.
The term was coined to describe the character of wolves that leave their pack and live and hunt alone. Usually, these lone wolves develop into stronger, more aggressive and dangerous animals compared to those which live in packs.
Mohamad Fuzi said a lone wolf individual would launch an attack on the quiet without the knowledge of anyone else.
“Such individuals launch attacks all of a sudden and are difficult to trace,” he told Bernama.
Mohamad Fuzi said these people were influenced by the IS ideology through social media or the video clips produced by the militant group.
“Many of these individuals are influenced through the social media and train by themselves to be radicals,” he added.
He cited an example of a 16-year-old student in Kedah who was arrested after he tried to attack a woman in a supermarket.
“This proves that the lone wolf threat exists and it is serious,” he said.
The student who was dressed in black with his face masked “like IS militants”, was arrested on Jan 11 at a supermarket in Sungai Petani, after he threatened a woman with a knife.
On Aug 13, a 17-year-old youth was arrested in Sabah over a plot to stage a lone wolf attack against non-Muslims in Sandakan, purportedly after having received instructions from a IS militant in Syria.
On Jan 16, a 28-year-old man was held at the Setiawangsa LRT station here before he could execute a suicide bombing after apparently having received an order from the IS in Syria.
Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, principal assistant director of the Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division in Bukit Aman, said the three individuals were detained for plotting lone wolf terror attacks in the country.
Meanwhile, Engku Ahmad Fadzil Engku Ali, senior fellow at the Institute of Strategic Islamic Research Malaysia, said the threat of a lone wolf terror attack was entirely different from a IS group militant strike.
“Lone wolves are difficult to detect because of the absence of communication to indicate the plotting of any terror activity,” he said.
The plotting of attacks by IS militant groups could be detected from any leak in the communication among the members, he added.