Singapore Warns Asian Terror Group May Strike
By Nancy-Amelia Collins
19 April 2005
Singapore has warned a regional terrorist group is planning more attacks similar to the 2002 bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Singapore says an Asian terrorist group with links to al-Qaida is planning to carry out more attacks like the bombings on Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
A senior Singapore official says a letter written by a Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member and obtained by Indonesian authorities says 12 of the group's members are ready to become "martyrs" and a Bali-style attack is being planned.
In a speech to the Internal Security Department, Singapore Home Affairs Minister Wong Ken Seng said terrorists are reverting to traditional forms of communication, such as hand-delivered notes, to thwart security surveillance of electronic methods.
Mr. Wong also says the group is recruiting Caucasians and converts to Islam in an attempt to counter terrorist profiling by the authorities.
Regional terrorist expert, Rohan Gunaratna, says the group is ready to mount attacks in the region.
"Jemaah Islamiyah's operational and support infrastructure is still very much intact in the southern Philippines and throughout Indonesia,” he said. “Jemaah Islamiyah is still capable of mounting large-scale attacks in Indonesia once again, and even use Indonesia as a launching pad to attack neighboring countries."
Mr. Gunaratna says Indonesia must declare the group a criminal organization.
"It is still a legal organization and Jemaah Islamiyah is able to distribute propaganda to recruit, to raise funds throughout Indonesia - it is because JI is still a legal entity. Until JI is designated as a terrorist organization, the Indonesian authorities, the police especially, do not have the power to target and dismantle the JI infrastructure," he added.
Jakarta has not outlawed Jemaah Islamiyah because it shares its name with a number of legitimate religious organizations, but it has prosecuted its members responsible for terrorist acts.
Three of the Bali bombers were given death sentences and more than 30 others involved in attacks were sentenced to between three-years and life in prison.
The group was also responsible for the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta in 2003 that killed 12 people and the 2004 bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta that claimed 12 lives.
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