Singaporean authorities have arrested two teenage students for suspected links to Islamic extremists.
M Arifil Azim Putra Norja’i, 19, and an unnamed 17-year-old were held under national security laws for alleged activities related to ISIS, the self-declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Straits Times reported Thursday, citing the home affairs ministry.
Arifil had made plans to join ISIS and, if unsuccessful, to carry out terrorist attacks in Singapore, authorities said.
He is the first known self-radicalized Singaporean to harbor such intentions. He was detained in April 2015.
A 17-year-old student was arrested earlier this month for further investigation into the extent of his radicalization, the report said.
The arrests came amid growing concern in the region and beyond that youths are being radicalized by ISIS.
Security agencies in Southeast Asia and elsewhere are stepping up surveillance and arrests of individuals trying to leave for Syria to join a growing pool of 20,000 foreign fighters.
Many of them were radicalized on the internet.
Arifil’s radicalization began in 2013 when he started viewing terrorist propaganda online, the ministry said.
He grew to support the radical ideology and violent tactics of ISIS and befriended individuals online who he thought could help him join the terrorist group.
Investigators said Arifil had actively looked up travel routes to Syria on the internet and researched ways of making improvised explosive devices.
“More importantly, Arifil also revealed that if he was unable to join ISIS in Syria, he intended to carry out violent attacks in Singapore. He gave considerable thought to how he would attack key facilities and assassinate government leaders,” the ministry said.
– Contact us at [email protected]