18 October 2016
Heavily armed troops from the police and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) turned out in force yesterday across the island, from Marina Bay to Jurong East, to seek out and neutralise a mock terror threat in the country’s largest counter-terrorism exercise yet.
The 18-hour operation involved over 3,200 officers, including those from the Singapore Civil Defence Force and other Home Team agencies. It climaxed at malls in Bishan and Tampines, where “terrorists” armed with M-16 rifles and explosive vests took hostages, including in a cinema, before being subdued early this morning.
Earlier yesterday, joint patrols between police and the SAF’s Island Defence Task Force, which protects key installations here, were stepped up at over 360 locations such as the financial centre, public transport nodes, shopping malls, residential areas and immigration checkpoints – after intelligence about an imminent attack was received.
There are two reasons for the exercise, said the police. One is to test the combined response between the Home Team and SAF. The other is to raise public awareness of “the current threat landscape and to encourage continued vigilance”.
… Dr Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said large-scale exercises such as yesterday’s are critical in testing the readiness and coordination of agencies in a terror attack.
He noted how it had been set up to replicate the more common terror scenarios seen today, in which small groups of terrorists hit public places at the same time, such as in the Paris attacks last November. He said: “With ISIS, the attack methodology has changed. Such exercises seek to emulate these attacks.”
GPO / ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/10/2016