SPOTLIGHT: ‘JI men planned to attack Singapore’


(NST) – THE most insidious terror attack planned by the Jemaah Islamiyah was to sabotage selected targets in Singapore including the water supply, Changi International Airport and the Mass Rapid Transit system.

“The reason for these targets was to cause tension between both countries,” said an officer familiar with militant operations.

“JI had also planned to launch attacks against the United States embassy and visiting US warships in Singapore.”

The planned attacks were headed by Huda @ Mukhlas Abd Haq, an Indonesian national who is a Malaysian permanent resident. He was also responsible for supervising JI members in Johor.

(Huda was a senior JI member with direct links to al-Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden. He was convicted and executed by Indonesian authorities in 2008 for his role in the 2002 Bali bombings)

Initial planning began in December 2000 but it was curtailed after police launched a crackdown on JI activities in Johor, which saw several members detained, including Dr Abdullah Daud, a Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer.

A day after the Sept 11, 2001 bombings, Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a Canadian, flew into Kuala Lumpur from Hong Kong where he met several Malaysian al-Qaeda members at a fast food outlet.

He regularly visited Internet cafes to communicate with his contacts, setting up several email accounts to stay in touch with al-Qaeda headquarters in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


At the time of his arrival in Malaysia, Mansour had been listed as an al-Qaeda operative by Canadian authorities. In late October 2001, he crossed the border into Singapore by bus. JI members across the Causeway met Mansour and began discussing targets for potential attacks in the city state, including Western embassies and a US warship in Sembawang harbour.

“There were plans to use four tonnes of explosives and Mansour was tasked with providing the cash.

“However, the plans failed after Malaysian and Singaporean authorities launched a crackdown,” the officer said.

Thirteen JI members were detained under the Internal Security Act on both sides of the Causeway.

Besides the planned attacks on selected targets in Singapore, the detainees also confessed to plans to blow up the Woodlands Checkpoint using a truck bomb manned by three Johor JI cell members.

Police also seized large amounts of ammonia nitrate in Johor, the main component of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil, a widely used bulk industrial explosive mixture.

It is understood that the explosives were to be used to bomb selected targets in Singapore including the United States and Israeli embassies and the warship.

Mansour fled Singapore before he could be picked up.

He became the subject of an international manhunt and was arrested three months later in Oman.

He was handed over to the US in May 2002 and given a life sentence in January 2008.