Sunday, July 5, 2009

Singapore simulates Mumbai attack in drill on Sentosa Island

SINGAPORE will hold its biggest anti-terror drill on Monday, simulating the deadly Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people last year, ahead of hosting an Asia-Pacific summit in November.

Exercise North Star VII will involve 2,000 participants from 15 state agencies and media outlets and simulate situations such as concerted terror attacks on hotels, malls and an underground train station, the Singapore Police Force said in a statement.

The exercise, based on November's Mumbai attacks, consists of 10 incidents, from the hijack of a taxi cab in a raid on a hotel to a rampage at a train station, according to plans seen by Reuters.

Singapore, home to regional offices of global firms, the world's busiest sea port and a top regional airport hub, has been safe from a militant sabotage so far, after it foiled a plot to hijack a plane and crash it into the Changi airport in 2002.

Mas Selamat Kastari, the alleged mastermind of the foiled plot and suspected leader of a Singapore radical Islamist group linked to the 2002 Bali bombings, was arrested in Malaysia in April after he escaped from a Singapore jail in February 2008.

The island-state will host an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November.

The Singapore Police said the anti-terror drill was not related to the security preparation for the summit, which will host leaders of economic heavy-hitters as the United States, Japan, China and Russia.

The exercise will be in two phases - July 6-7 and July 15, in which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will preside over the finale at the resort island of Sentosa, the police said.


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