Teen’s terror plans foiled by ISD

Options: The youth bought a tactical vest and had found his choice of machete but had not purchased it yet. — The Straits Times/ANN/Internal Security Dept

A 16-year-old Singaporean student has been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for planning to attack two mosques in the city on March 15 this year – the second anniversary of the Christchurch terror attacks.

A Protestant Christian of Indian ethnicity, he is the first detainee to be inspired by far-right extremism and the youngest person detained under the ISA for terror-related activities to date, said the Internal Security Department (ISD) yesterday.The secondary school student was found to have made detailed plans and preparations to conduct attacks using a machete against Muslims at two mosques here, the ISD said.

He had chosen Assyafaah Mosque in Sembawang and Yusof Ishak Mosque in Woodlands as his targets because they were near his home, it added.

Influenced by the Christchurch attacker Brenton Tarrant, the youth had mapped out his route and bought a flak jacket. He intended to buy a machete on online marketplace Carousell and wanted to live-stream his planned massacre.

“He was self-radicalised, motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam and a fascination with violence. He watched the live-streamed video of the attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and read the manifesto of the attacker, Brenton Tarrant, ” said the ISD.

He had also watched Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria propaganda videos, and came to the erroneous conclusion that IS represented Islam, and that Islam called on its followers to kill non-believers, said the ISD.

The ISD said it was clear from his attack plans and preparations that this youth was influenced by Tarrant’s actions and manifesto.

First, he planned to carry out his attacks on the anniversary of the Christchurch attacks. He had conducted online reconnaissance and research on both mosques to prepare for the attack.

He also planned to drive between the two attack sites like Tarrant, and devised a plan to procure a vehicle for the attack, said the ISD.

Third, he bought a tactical vest from an online platform, and intended to adorn the vest with right-wing extremist symbols and modify it so that he could strap on his mobile device to live-stream the attack, just like Tarrant did.

The youth had explored other options before deciding on the machete as his weapon, said the ISD.His original plan was to use a rifle similar to that used by Tarrant. He found a prospective seller via a private chat platform, but did not follow through with the purchase when he suspected it was a scam.

He nevertheless persisted in his search for firearms online, and gave up the idea only when he realised that it would be difficult to get his hands on one, given Singapore’s strict gun-control laws, the ISD said.

He also explored making a triacetone triperoxide bomb and mimicking Tarrant’s plan of setting fire to the mosques with gasoline.

He eventually dropped both ideas due to logistical and personal safety concerns.

To prepare himself for the knifing attack, the youth had watched YouTube videos, and was confident that he would be able to hit the arteries of his targets by randomly slashing at the neck and chest areas.

At the point of his arrest by the ISD, the youth had found his choice machete on Carousell which was listed for S$190 (RM580) but had not purchased it yet.

In further imitation of Tarrant, he had prepared documents which he intended to disseminate prior to his attacks – one as a message to the people of France to stand against Muslims, and another as a manifesto detailing his hatred for Islam.

The manifesto, which was unfinished when the youth was arrested, said that “violence should never be solved with peace”, because peace, while “moral”, is “nowhere near effective” as violence.

It borrowed heavily from Tarrant’s manifesto and referred to him as a “saint” and to the Christchurch attacks as a “justifiable killing of Muslims”.

“The detailed planning and preparation attests to the youth’s determination to follow through with his attack plan, ” said the ISD.

The 16-year-old admitted during the investigation that he could foresee only two outcomes to his plan – that he is arrested before he is able to carry out the attacks, or he executes the plan and is thereafter killed by the police. — The straits Times/ANN

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