Many of us will recall the terrifying escape of terrorist Mas Selamat back in 2008 that sent shockwaves across our island.
Mas Selamat was the leader of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terrorist group in Singapore and, till today, remains detained in Singapore.
For the Internal Security Department (ISD), security operations against JI started long before back in 2001.
Now, 20 years later, the ISD has released newly-declassified details of the terror plans by the terrorist group, including a planned attack on Yishun MRT.
On Saturday (4 Dec), on the 20th anniversary of their operations against JI in Singapore, the ISD details the terrorist group’s attack plans public.
They also released footage and images showing detailed plans by JI to attack Singapore. This includes their plan to attack Yishun MRT in 2001.
One such footage showed a member filming the exterior of the MRT station and its surroundings.
The plan was first conceived in 1997, where the group intended to attack a bus carrying US military personnel to the station.
According to TODAY, JI members drew detailed sketches of Yishun MRT station. They even noted the frequency of the bus services and traffic system in the area.
Their 1st plan was to pack explosives in either a stolen motorcycle or a dustbin and detonate it when the US personnel board or alight the bus.
Besides the planned Yishun MRT attack, JI also made plans targeting the US, Israeli embassies as well as the Australian and British High Commissions in Singapore in 2001.
They also targeted commercial buildings housing US firms such as The American Club, Robinson Towers, and AIA Tower.
JI had also considered attacks on Singapore by targeting our water pipelines, reported TODAY.
Plans were also drawn up to attack Mindef’s HQ in Bukit Gombak.
The ISD revealed that the Singapore JI group also set up a military training unit here.
Several books on military tactics and strategies were found in their possession at that time.
JI members had supposedly bought them to improve their military knowledge.
It was uncovered that weapons like knives and shurikens were used during their training sessions.
According to TODAY, there were also handwritten notes by a JI member detailing instructions on constructing explosives.
A white duffel bag containing bags of sulphur powder used to make explosives was also found.
Even 20 years on, the JI and their well-developed attack plots remain Singapore’s closest shave with transnational Islamist terrorism today.
In total, 56 JI members have been detained in Singapore since 2002, reported TODAY.
To date, 4 members of the JI group remain in detention under the Internal Security Act.
The ISD shared that these 4 men remain “deeply entrenched in their radical beliefs” despite rehabilitation efforts, posing a security threat.
Mas Selamat Kastari and his son, Masyhadi Mas Selamat, are amongst the 4 men. They have been detained since 2006 and 2013, respectively.
The terrorism landscape has evolved significantly since the JI operation in 2001, and the ISD continued to work tirelessly behind the scene.
They noted that since the mid-2000s, there has been an uptick in cases of self-radicalised individuals detected locally.
Often, these individuals are not part of any terrorist networks but were influenced by extremist materials and terrorist propaganda online.
Such threats were further heightened with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2014.
As for the Singapore JI, the network is very much still active. Despite a hostile security environment, they have remained resilient, undertaking measures to evade detection.
ISD assured that they are adapting to the new operating terrain and have continually expanded and strengthened its ability to keep threats at bay.
While the threat of terrorism is constant and real, we often take the safety and security of Singapore for granted.
Kudos to the ISD for working tirelessly in the background to keep Singaporeans safe and sound.
Combating such threats requires close partnership with the community and ISD’s international counterparts.
If you know of any radicalised individuals with extremist ideologies, do report them by contacting the ISD Counter-Terrorism hotline at 1800-2626-473 (1800-2626-ISD).
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image adapted from TODAY on Facebook.
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