- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2002

SINGAPORE Authorities have arrested 15 suspected Muslim militants, some of them trained at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, and accused them of plotting bomb attacks on this city-state, the government said yesterday.
The suspects were arrested last month, and detailed information on bomb construction and photographs and video footage of targeted buildings in Singapore were found in their homes and offices, the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
Al Qaeda-linked material, falsified passports and forged immigration stamps were also found, a ministry statement said.
The suspects have links to militant groups in Malaysia and Indonesia, the statement said. Malaysian police have arrested 13 persons since Dec. 9 suspected of being members of an extremist group with possible links to three men accused of involvement in the September 11 attacks.
The 15 were detained under Singapore's Internal Security Act, which allows people to be held indefinitely without trial. All of the arrested, except one, is Singaporean.
The other suspect used to be Singaporean and is now a Malaysian citizen, the ministry said.
Thirteen of the suspects are members of a clandestine organization called "Jemaah Islamiah," the statement said. It is unclear if the other two belong to the group, it added.
Malaysian police said that the militants arrested in Malaysia had been instructed by two key Indonesian figures in Jemaah Islamiah Abu Jibril, who has been detained in Malaysia, and Hambali Isamuddin, who is sought by Malaysian police.
Singapore is a wealthy Southeast Asian city-state with close economic and military links to the United States. Singapore has been a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led crackdown on terrorism since September 11.
"The activities of this group included fund collection for terrorist groups, active surveillance of establishments in Singapore targeted for terrorist bombing, as well as attempts to procure materials for bomb construction, including large quantities of ammonium nitrate," the statement said.
It did not specify what buildings were being targeted by the group. Some members of the network are believed to have fled the country, the ministry said. The 15 persons were arrested between Dec. 9 and Dec. 24.
The United States has warned that Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group seeks to create a hub for terror activities in Southeast Asia.
A report by Jane's Intelligence Review report said the anti-terror campaign triggered by the attacks on the United States had significantly disrupted al Qaeda operations in Europe.
But in Asia, "a network of cells and support structures remains virtually intact," the report said.


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