Singapore will join the ongoing international efforts to combat the Islamic State militant group, a senior government official said on Monday, outlining plans to contribute military personnel and aerial-refueling equipment to the multilateral coalition in the Middle East.
The city-state will contribute a KC-135R refueling aircraft, an imagery analysis team and liaison and planning officers, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With the move, Singapore becomes the first Southeast Asian country to join the US-led coalition that is seeking to curb the radical Islamist group that is fighting to carve out a state in Iraq and Syria and has inspired extremists worldwide, the report noted.
Islamic State poses a direct threat to Singapore, Ng said, pointing out that Southeast Asians fighting for the group have said they intend to establish an Islamic caliphate in their home region.
About 350 Southeast Asians, including from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, are reportedly in Iraq and Syria, he said.
“If this terrorism threat is allowed to grow and spread, innocent civilians here and elsewhere could be endangered and killed,” Ng said. “By contributing to the international effort to tackle the threat at source, we are contributing directly to our own security.”
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