Islamic State-linked plots in region fell in 2018 but the terrorism threat to Singapore remains high
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The most pressing terrorism threat to Singapore continues to come from Islamic State, even though the number of plots directed by the militant group fell in the region in 2018.
This is according to the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) latest terrorism threat assessment report which was released on Tuesday (Jan 22).
It warned that other groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Al-Qaeda (AQ) are regrouping.
“In Southeast Asia, there is the possibility that JI, which is aligned with AQ, may resume planning attacks,” said MHA.
The ministry added that while there is “no credible intelligence” of a terror attack being planned against Singapore, the possibility cannot be ruled out. “The terrorism threat to Singapore remains high,” said MHA.
MHA noted that even though Islamic State has suffered heavy territorial losses in Iraq and Syria, its virulent ideology persists online and continues to attract supporters in Singapore.
In the past two years, eight self-radicalised individuals – including two women and one youth – were dealt with under the Internal Security Act (ISA), said MHA, bringing the total number of Singaporeans dealt with under this law to 22 since 2015.
In comparison, between 2007 and 2014, there were 11 such radicalised Singaporeans dealt with under the ISA.
However, not all eight cases in the past two years were related to Islamic State, said MHA. Three of them were “influenced by other terrorist rhetoric” and wanted to participate in armed violence in conflict zones in other parts of the world.
In addition, MHA said it continued to detect radicalisation among foreigners living and working in Singapore.
Since 2015, 14 Indonesian domestic workers have been repatriated after they were found to have been radicalised.
Last year, three Malaysian work permit holders were arrested for their suspected involvement in terrorism-related activities. All three were repatriated to Malaysia.
None of the foreigners investigated had any plans to carry out attacks in Singapore, said MHA.
A Singaporean militant who was featured in two Islamic State propaganda videos released in 2017 is believed to be dead, said MHA.
Megat Shahdan Abdul Samad shot into the spotlight after he was seen in one of the videos, along with two other Southeast Asian militants, executing three “agents of the crusader coalition”.
Source: Channel News Asia