A man in Malaysia who killed 2 police officers acted on his own, a minister says

A police forensic member takes a picture outside of a police station where a man has stormed in Ulu Tiram, Johor state, Malaysia, Friday, May 17, 2024. National police chief Razarudin Husain said the attack appeared to have been planned and could have been an attempt to take firearms. (AP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The man who attacked a Malaysian police station and killed two officers was a recluse and is believed to have acted on his own despite suspected links to the Jemaah Islamiyah extremist group, the country's home minister said Saturday.

The man stormed the police station in southern Johor state near Singapore in the early hours of Friday with a machete. He hacked a police constable to death and then used the officer’s weapon to kill another. He wounded a third officer before being shot dead. Police initially said the man could have attempted to take firearms from the station.

Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution called it a “lone wolf attack” based on an initial investigation and said there was no threat to the wider public.

“We have established that the attacker acted on his own ... a lone wolf driven by certain motivation and his own understanding,” Saifuddin said. “His action is not linked to any larger mission.”

Police have said the man's father was a known member of Jemaah Islamiyah, a Southeast Asian network linked to al-Qaida, and that they found materials linked to the group in their home. Seven people including the man's parents and three siblings were detained and police said they were searching for some 20 Jemaah Islamiyah members in the state.

The incident sparked concerns over a possible wider threat, prompting Singapore to issue a warning to its citizens to be vigilant when traveling to Johor.

Police initially said the attacker was 34, but Saifudin later said he was 21 years old, with no criminal record. He said the man did not interact much with his neighbors. Saifudin urged the public not to tie the attack to religion, saying the motive for the attack had not yet been established.

Jemaah Islamiyah was designated a terrorist group by the U.S and was banned in neighboring Indonesia. It's widely blamed for attacks in the Philippines and Indonesia including the 2002 bombings in the Indonesian resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. The group has been considerably weakened by security crackdowns in the region.