A 20-year-old Singaporean Muslim man was arrested under the Internal Security Act last month over a plan to carry out a knife attack against Jews leaving a synagogue in the city-state.
Singapore’s Internal Security Department (ISD) said Amirull Ali, a national serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), had planned to target three Jewish men at the Maghain Aboth Synagogue in Waterloo Street.
It said Amirull had prepared for the attack by studying an image of the human body to identify the best place to stab victims, among others.
He had also designed a replica knife to practise stabbing motions, as well as made reconnaissance trips to the synagogue in 2019.
The Straits Times reported that Amirull had cancelled his plans twice over fears of getting arrested, and instead made plans to travel to Gaza to join the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas.
Amirull’s arrest is the second this year showing a trend of young Singaporeans being radicalised to carry out attacks based on religious groups.
In January, authorities arrested a 16-year-old Christian Singaporean who had planned to attack two mosques in a copycat act of the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand.
Singapore’s home minister K Shanmugam said Amirull was detained not because of his support for the Palestinian cause.
“It’s perfectly okay to support the Palestinian cause, but it’s not okay to go around killing people.
“It would probably incite a greater animosity and distrust between different races and religions in Singapore,” he was quoted as saying by the Straits Times while accompanying Muslim leaders to visit a synagogue.
The ISD said Amirull had taken an interest in the Palestinian cause after viewing a video of civilians being bombed by fighter jets.
“His subsequent online research into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict convinced him that Israel was oppressing Palestinians and also deepened his hatred for Israel,” it added.