S’pore a target in Dec 4 strike plan

Newly-found document reveals terror plans for KL, Jakarta too

Three-men terrorist teams working with members of the militant Jemaah Islamiah (JI) group were planning synchronised attacks in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia last December according to a 15-page document uncovered by intelligence sources here.

The document titled “Jihad Operation in Asia”, a copy of which was obtained by The Straits Times, revealed the makings of a conspiracy to inflict damage on American diplomatic missions and installations two months before security and intelligence agencies foiled the plot.

D-Day was Dec 4 last year, when the terrorist teams – codenamed Jibril and working with the Al-Qaeda-linked JI group – were supposed to have detonated satchels containing C-4 explosives in United States embassy compounds in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.

“This document is about as close as you will get to a smoking gun regarding Indonesian links to Middle-eastern terrorists,” an American analyst said here.

The document, of which there are also Indonesian and Arabic versions, was signed by JI chairman Abu Hanafiah and secretary Fikri Sugondo – both of whom are believed to be using aliases, like most of the other operatives whose names are mentioned.

The rationale and plans for the attacks stemmed from a JI leadership meeting on Sept 28, more than a week before the US-led strikes on Afghanistan.

The group took the view that Islam was in danger from American and Jewish “political and military aggression” following theSept 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

“By hunting Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, they justify the murder of innocent children and women in Afghanistan. This is all part of the US and Jewish strategy to destroy Islam,” the document said.

“They have declared a crusade … It is time for us to engage in a holy war to eradicate the Jewish ‘satans’ in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia … They will face a wave of violence in their societies, especially Americans who reside there.”

The aim appears to have been to destabilise the US with more attacks against them in foreign territories.

This would shift Washington’s focus from Afghanistan towards Asia – a move that would help gel Islamic solidarity in the region.

A JI source who declined to be named and is believed to be operating under three aliases, told The Straits Times: “We are doing this out of solidarity for our Islamic brothers in Afghanistan.”

The document also mentions the name of Fathur Rohman – the bombmaker arrested in Manila on Jan 15. Another name which surfaced was Abdussalam bin Abu Thalib, identified as the leader of JI Malaysia.

Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir has thus far been identified as one who had a key role in the JI’s activities in Malaysia. But the 64-year-old, questioned recently by Indonesian police, has denied having any links to Al-Qaeda or regional terror networks.

The Straits Times understands Indonesian intelligence officers found the document in Solo last October.

Some believe that factional rivalry in the state intelligence agency might have meant that only a small group of officers – those opposed to intelligence cooperation with Washington – were aware of the document’s existence and decided to keep it secret.

Posted in Indonesia