Friday, August 5, 2016

Terrorists Plan To Rocket Attack Marina Bay on National Day - foiled

Six terror suspects who allegedly had plans to attack Singapore’s Marina Bay financial district were arrested in Batam, Indonesia on Friday (5 August).

Local media reports cited National Police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar as saying that the group – led by 31-year-old factory worker Gigih Rahmat Dewa – had intended to fire a rocket towards Marina Bay from Batam some 30km away. They were arrested by members of Indonesia’s Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad.

The suspects, aged 19 to 46, are also said to have links to Bahrun Naim, the alleged mastermind behind the terrorist attacks in Jakarta in January, who is now based in Syria. Gigih is said to have received orders from Bahrun to conduct terror attacks in Indonesia.

They are also said to have had a role in helping Indonesians gain passage to Syria via Turkey.

The launching of the rocket and firing it towards the direction of Marina Bay, would not have done much of a damage on any other day. The SOP of the IS however, is always to attack when there are very big crowds, so as to maximise casualties and damages. For this to happen, launching the attack during the evening of the National Day Parade on 9th August, would be the best time. In fact, during the firework display, the explosion may even be mistaken for a firework accident.

If it is a home-made rocket, the rocket is quite likely to be unguided. It will likely end up in the sea before reaching the Marina Bay area. If it ever reaches Marina Bay, large part of which is water, so again, it may end up harmless. The worst case scenario would be to land on top of the Marina Bay Sands' Tower top, that is, the Infinity Pool. That would be quite damaging and news-breaking.

By the same token, if it hit any commercial building or residential tower, the economic and material damage can be pretty high, not to mention, the fear and panic generated. For a single rocket, randomly landing around the Bay area, the lost of lives and injury should not be too high. A handful of deaths and wounded can be anticipated in a worst case scenario.

The bad news is, PM Lee's commitment to President Obama to send Singaporean troops to assist the Americans in Iraq, means that Singapore is now a must-hit target for the ISIL. I wonder, if LKY would ever agree to such a dumb move, if he is still alive.

Singapore authorities respond

According to a Channel NewsAsia report, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it is aware of the group’s plan and has been working with the Indonesian authorities since the plot was uncovered.

“Our security agencies have been coordinating closely with the Indonesian authorities since the discovery of this attack plot, to monitor the activities of the group and to apprehend those involved. We are grateful for the good cooperation by the Indonesian authorities and their actions to apprehend the group,” the MHA said.

The ministry added that inland and border security measures have been stepped up in response to the “prevailing security situation”.


SINGAPORE  — The police and other agencies have stepped up inland and border security measures, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Friday (Aug 5) after six terror suspects were arrested for allegedly trying to hit Marina Bay with rockets fired from Batam.

"In response to this threat and the prevailing security situation Police and other agencies have been stepping up inland and border security measures," a ministry spokesperson said.

The MHA added that it was "aware that plans were being made by the six terror suspects", but gave no indication as to when it first discovered the plot.

"Our security agencies have been coordinating closely with the Indonesian authorities since the discovery of this attack plot, to monitor the activities of the group and to apprehend those involved," the ministry noted. "We are grateful for the good co-operation by the Indonesian authorities and their actions to apprehend the group."

The suspects, aged 19 to 46, were arrested on Friday morning by Special Detachment 88, Indonesia's elite counter-terrorism squad. They were part of a terror cell called KGR@Katibah, according to a statement from Indonesia's national police.

The statement identified the six suspects as Gigih Rahmat Dewa, 31, Trio Syafrido, 46, Eka Saputra, 35, Tarmidzi, Hadi Gusti Yanda, 20, and M Tegar Sucianto, 19. All of them worked at a factory except Trio, who is reportedly a bank executive.

Gigih, the group's ring leader, is said to have aided militants travelling from Indonesia to Syria, via Turkey. Indonesian police have also linked him to Bahrun Naim, the alleged mastermind behind the attacks in central Jakarta earlier this year, saying: "(Gigih) is suspected of receiving and channeling funds for radical activities sourced from Bahrun Naim."

Naim, an Indonesian militant who is on the radar of the security agencies, is said to have encouraged attacks in Singapore, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said in March. Mr Shanmugam has also warned on several occasions that the threat of a terror attack in Singapore is at its highest level in recent times.
Police conducting terror arrest in Batam
Commenting on the arrest of the six, Mr Shanmugam said on Friday: "This does not come as a surprise. 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 thanked the Indonesian authorities for taking action, and said the arrests highlighted the importance of cooperation between countries.

"Next week, during National Day, I will be in Indonesia, for a security conference, chaired by Indonesia and attended by Ministers from this region," added Mr Shanmugam. "Our people have to be extra alert. We have to emphasise the importance of SGSecure, and the role that everyone has to play."

Neither the Singapore nor the Indonesian authorities have given clues as to what type of rocket the suspects had tried to use, or if the Indonesian police managed to recover the weapon. Singapore and Batam are less than 30km apart at the nearest point.

According to an online report by Batam Pos, the suspects were arrested at various locations across Batam, including the Mediterranean Housing Block FF1 Batam Centre, Complex Masyeba, Cluster Sakura Botania, Carina Park Complex, and the Komplek Taman Indah Batuaji.

Indonesian police said the six have been trying to harbour two Uyghurs, one of whom has been deported. The other Uyghur, identified merely as Ali, is allegedly linked to Nur Rohman, a militant who carried out a suicide attack in Solo, Indonesia, in July. Ali has been detained alongside another militant Abu Mus'ab, who had allegedly sheltered Nur Rohman.

One of Gigih's neighbours said he got married four years ago and did not show signs of suspicious behaviour. “He rarely goes out, in fact, we don’t know anything about them. So far the couple has been good,” the neighbor was quoted saying by Batam Pos.

-From Today

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