Among those arrested were two local suspects in the June grenade attack outside Kuala Lumpur and three foreigners.
“After reviewing intelligence, the Royal Malaysian Police can confirm that Muhammad Wanndy has been killed in an attack in Raqqa, Syria on April 29,” Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on his Twitter account, confirming previous reports of Wanndy’s death in a drone attack on the ISIL’s self-proclaimed capital.
News of his alleged death began to make rounds after his wife Nor Mahmudah Ahmad announced it in a Facebook post last month. However, police had earlier cast doubt on the reports, stating that it was possible Wanndy had faked his own death to avoid detection.
Wanndy was the alleged mastermind behind a grenade attack on a bar in the outskirts of Kuala Lampur in June 2016 which injured eight people.
Following the attack, Wanndy claimed responsibility through a Facebook post. It was the first, and so far the only, attack by ISIL on Malaysian soil.
Born and raised in the western Malaysian state of Malacca, Wanndy left for Raqqa with his wife in 2014. He first drew public attention the following year when he appeared in a video showing the beheading of a Syrian man.
Under the alias of Abu Hamzah Al Fateh, he quickly made a name for himself as an ISIL recruiter and fundraiser.
Statistics from the Malaysian police’s counterterrorism unit indicate that at least a third of the more than 250 people arrested for ISIL-linked activities in Malaysia between 2013 and 2016 were recruited by or linked to Wanndy.
In March, he was named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the US Treasury, making him a high-profile target for law enforcement agencies worldwide.