Indonesia arrests 6 militants for planning attack on Singapore
Indonesia’s counter-terrorism police have arrested six suspected militants, believed to be linked to the Islamic State, who were allegedly planning to launch a rocket attack on downtown Singapore.world Updated: Aug 06, 2016 01:29 IST
Indonesia’s counter-terrorism police on Friday arrested six suspected militants, believed to be linked to the Islamic State, who were allegedly planning to launch a rocket attack on downtown Singapore from nearby Batam Island.
The Indonesian men were captured on the Indonesian island, about 25 km southeast of Singapore, said National Police spokesman Maj Gen Boy Rafli Amar.
“We have strong indications that the six men were planning to launch a rocket at Singapore’s Marina Bay from Batam,” Amar said. He would not confirm whether an actual rocket had been found in the police raid.
Marina Bay is a busy area close to the heart of Singapore’s downtown filled with office towers, waterside eateries and tourist attractions, including one of Asia’s biggest casinos.
The arrested men claimed they were members of Katibah Gigih Rahmat, a little-known extremist group that helps Indonesian militants travel to Syria. Police believe it has received funds from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian fighting with the Islamic State in Syria.
Naim has been linked to a succession of poorly executed attacks in Indonesia, including a suicide bombing outside police headquarters in Solo city last month that killed the bomber.
The arrests, which included the 31-year-old alleged leader of the group, highlight the continued threat posed by extremists in Indonesia despite a sustained crackdown by authorities.
Singapore was not surprised by the arrest of the suspected militants for plotting an attack on the city-state, a minister said. “We were aware of the plans being made to attack us with rockets,” home affairs minister K Shanmugam said in a statement.
“The attacks can come from terrorists who seek to come into Singapore; and they can come from terrorists who locate themselves just outside Singapore. Our small size increases these risks,” he said.
The statement said Singapore’s security agencies coordinated with Indonesia to monitor the activities of the group and apprehend those involved.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, suffered a spate of deadly attacks by members of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
In recent years, smaller and less deadly strikes have targeted government agencies, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces. Many Jemaah Islamiyah members say they no longer support violent jihad but some have aligned themselves with the Islamic State.