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Singapore arrests teenager ‘about to join Islamic State’

_83250872_464346172The authorities in Singapore say they have detained a 19-year-old who was about to join Islamic State and was planning attacks on public targets.

Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i is one of Singapore’s youngest terror detainees and reportedly its first linked to IS.

Authorities said he had been held for “terrorism-related activities”. A second teenager had also been arrested for alleged radical links.

Terror arrests are rare in the city-state, known for its stability.

‘Considerable thought’

The home affairs ministry said that Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i had contacted individuals whom he thought could help him join IS, and researched travel routes to Syria.

He also gave “considerable thought” to attacking key facilities and assassinating government leaders, researching how to make explosive devices, said the ministry.

If those plans failed, he allegedly intended to carry out public attacks using weapons such as knives to “strike fear”, and attempted to recruit others to help him. He was detained in April.

The ministry said the second teenager, whom it did not name, was 17 years old and had been arrested in May. It did not give further details.

Singapore has reportedly detained more than 60 people since 2002 for their involvement in terror-related activities.

In 2001 the country foiled a plot by the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group which planned to bomb foreign embassies and key facilities including Changi Airport.

Last year Singapore said a handful of citizens had left to join the IS in Syria.

The issue of self-radicalisation has been a major concern in the region in the past year, with neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia arresting scores of people said to be IS-linked militants, some of whom were planning attacks.

BBC Asia

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