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Terrorism a long-term challenge: Singapore

"The tape reminds us that although much has been done in counter-terrorism, the threat continues," the Ministry for Home Affairs said.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 14:23 IST

An audiotape in which Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened new attacks against the United States shows that fighting terrorism is a long-term challenge, Singapore's interior ministry said.

"The audiotape reminds us that although much has been done in counter-terrorism, the threat of terrorism continues to be a significant challenge which needs to be addressed for likely a long time still," the Ministry for Home Affairs said in a statement late on Friday.

The statement was in response to anagency's query.

Singapore is a staunch US ally in the global effort against terrorism, and officials here believe the prosperous city-state is a prime target by regional and international extremist groups.

Bin Laden broke a long silence with the latest audiotape aired on the Arabic satellite television network Al-Jazeera on Thursday. The voice on the tape was authenticated by CIA analysts.

The Al-Qaeda leader said security precautions were not the reason the United States has been spared another major attack since September 11, 2001.

"These operations are being prepared and you will see their results," he said, addressing the American people.

Bin Laden also offered "a long-term truce" but the White House immediately rejected the offer.

Earlier this month, Singapore conducted its first large-scale surprise security drill, staging mock bombings and a simulated chemical attack to test readiness for an extremist strike.

Singapore authorities in late 2001 arrested several people suspected of plotting to attack foreign and local targets here, including embassies.