Singapore was specifically targeted by terrorist groups in the past year and the terrorism threat to the country is at the highest in recent years, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its Singapore Terrorism Threat Assessment Report 2017, released on Thursday.
MHA identified the Islamic State (ISIS) as the most serious threat to Singapore which has “shaped Singapore’s security landscape for the last few years.”
ISIS was responsible for several attacks across Southeast Asia in 2016, including a suicide-bombing in Indonesia’s Jakarta, and the grenade attack in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pro-ISIS militants could set up base in parts of Southeast Asia which are more difficult for security agencies to deal with, the ministry said.
It cautioned that Singapore is a key target of terrorist groups as it has taken part in international coalitions against terrorism and represent many things that are anathema to ISIS.
“It had already plotted to carry out two attacks against Singapore that the authorities are aware of,” it added.
In addition, MHA said Singapore also faces potential attack by radicalized individuals who may heed the call of the IS group to carry out attacks wherever they are residing.
MHA noted that the number of radicalized Singaporeans detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) recorded a significant increase trend over the past few years.
“Radicalized individuals are a grave security concern. Such attacks are hard to prevent, and can happen quickly without much warning,” added MHA.
An ISIS publication released in September 2015 also named Singapore (among other countries) as a member of the “crusader coalition” which IS was fighting against. A May 2016 IS video named Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as countries infiltrated by “disbelievers” and threatened action against the “tyrants” of these countries.