A recent Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) report has highlighted that the terrorism threat is at its highest level in Singapore and warns that the country remains a key target of the jihadist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The report, christened ‘The Singapore Terrorism Threat Assessment Report 2017’ cited ISIS as the most serious threat to Singapore and one that has shaped its “security landscape for the last few years”.
Though the threat level remains high in Singapore, there is no credible intelligence of an imminent attack, the report noted, although security agencies remain on high vigilance.
It is also a matter of concern that, regionally, ISIS-linked incidents kicked off in January 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia followed by a grenade attack outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in June the same year. A subsequent slew of suicide bombings and shootings have taken place in Indonesia and as recently as May this year.
The report said, “Pro-ISIS militants could set up base in parts of Southeast Asia which are more difficult for security agencies to deal with.”
The report noted Singapore is and will continue to be a target for its role in international coalitions against terrorism, plus the fact that the country represents “many things that are anathema to ISIS”.
The report added, “ISIS has demonstrated that Singapore is very much on its radar. It had already plotted to carry out two attacks against Singapore that the authorities are aware of.”
The first of which involved local authorities mitigating the threat of foreign ISIS militants considering carrying out an attack in the first half of 2016, while the other saw Indonesia foil a plot by Batam-based terrorist to launch a rocket at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.
The latter incident demonstrated how it is a “fact that terrorist elements are thinking of ways to hit Singapore”, said the report.
In addition to the terrorist threats from outside, there is also a "grave risk" of attacks by radicalised individuals, the report noted, pointing out that such attacks using everyday items like cars and knives are hard to prevent.
Security agencies will do what it takes to detect and prevent a terrorist attack on Singapore soil, MHA said.
The ministry said it hopes through this report, "Singaporeans will better appreciate the seriousness of the terrorism threat, and to be alert and prepared in the event of an attack".