Singapore: The escalation of violence in the Middle East as well as the expansion of the dreaded Islamic State group has raised the terror threat posed to Singapore, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean told parliament today.
The Islamic State (IS) continues to actively recruit foreign fighters including Southeast Asians and its brutality is not confined to beheadings of Westerners, but also to the killing of other Muslims and minority communities in Syria and Iraq, said Teo, who is also Minister of Home Affairs.
"We have no information currently of any specific threat to us resulting directly from the anti-IS strikes," he said.
"However, our assessment remains that the expansion of the IS beyond Syria and Iraq has raised the threat to Singapore.
"Even if Singapore is not itself a target, foreign interests here may be targeted," he said, citing the example of how Al-Qaeda, working with Jemaah Islamiyah planned to bomb the US and other embassies here in 2002.
There are also reports that some Malaysians and Indonesians, who have fought for IS, have formed a militant group called Katibah Nusantara Lid Daulah Islamiyyah or Malay Archipelago Unit for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
"If this group expands in Southeast Asia, it will pose a regional terrorism threat," Channel News Asia quoted Teo as saying.
He also told the House that there were at least two known Singapore citizens, who have gone to Syria to take part in the fight, though their exact whereabouts are not known.
Teo assured that Singapore's security agencies were monitoring the situation closely and they would counter any threat posed by foreign terrorists to the country.
The minister also informed the house about plans to erect another 80 km of land and sea-based physical barriers, such as fencing and floating sea barriers, to prevent illegal entries into the country.
This expansion would increase the length of such barriers to 143 km of Singapore's 193 km coastline.