Southeast Asia facing IS intrusion

(VOVworld) – Some Southeast Asian countries are facing the risk of becoming a base or target of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. After detecting several IS plots, Southeast Asian countries have strengthened their security.

Southeast Asia facing IS intrusion  - ảnh 1
Indonesian anti-terror police and an identification team are seen outside a building during a raid in Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia, August 5, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/M N Kanwa/via Reuters

IS’s expansion into Southeast Asia became real when Indonesian police arrested 6 people planning to launch a rocket from Indonesia’s Batam island to Singapore on August 5.  The suspects were in direct contact with an IS militant in Syria and were preparing attacks on Singapore. In a speech to mark Singapore’s National Day on August 9, Prime Minister Lee Hsien-loong admitted that his country has become a target of terrorism.

One week after the failed attack on Singapore, IS posted a video on the Internet warning it would bomb the 2016 Miss Universe contest in the Philippines. The contest will be held in January, 2017, but no specific venue has been confirmed.

Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said IS intends to build new bases in Southeast Asia. About 300 terrorists have come to Indonesia’s Riau island, near Singapore and Malaysia, to build an IS base.

Southeast Asian countries have tightened their security. On Singapore’s National Day, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) were deployed to strengthen security on the ground, in the skies, and at sea and all sea ports halted immigration activities. Prime Minister Lee has called for unity among Muslim and non-Muslim people to fight terrorism.

Malaysia’s migration authority revoked the passports of 68 of its nationals who went to enlist in the ranks of IS and has threatened legal action if they return to Malaysia. Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid said those individuals no longer have valid travel documents as Malaysian citizens and if they return to Malaysia, legal action under the Immigration Act will be initiated against them. Malaysia has discussed with other countries ways to improve regional security. It has also raised its security alert level to prevent terrorists from obtaining heavy weapons.

Indonesia continues its hunt for other members of the terrorist group caught plotting to launch rockets at Singapore and has enhanced its cooperation with Malaysia and Singapore.
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