A “self-radicalized" man, who tried to join the Islamic State group, was arrested in Singapore under an internal security law that allows a person to be kept in custody without trial for two years, the country’s ministry of home affairs said Wednesday. The man was reportedly identified as 51-year-old Mustafa bin Sultan Ali.
Singaporean Ali was arrested in June after being deported from Turkey, from where he planned to further join the ISIS in Syria. The home ministry said, according to Reuters, that Ali was also planning to conduct terror attacks on the country's Western establishments. His deportation comes at a time when several countries witness a rise in the number of people trying to join militant groups in Iraq and Syria.
In May, a 19-year-old Singaporean, identified as Arifil Azim Putra Norja'I, was detained for working with ISIS and planning to conduct attacks against civilians in Singapore. Another 17-year-old was arrested by Singaporean authorities the same month. The country has reportedly arrested over 60 people since 2002 for their involvement in terror-related activities.
Last November, Singapore became the first country to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS and expressed willingness to provide support in the form of military personnel and equipment.
"If this terrorism threat is allowed to grow and spread, innocent civilians here and elsewhere could be endangered and killed," Singapore's Defense Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said at the time, according to Sydney Morning Herald. "By contributing to the international effort to tackle the threat at source, we are contributing directly to our own security."
According to a report by the United Nations in April, over 25,000 foreign fighters from about 100 countries have joined militant groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, an increase of 71 percent between mid-2014 and March 2015. The report added that Syria and Iraq alone accounted for about 20,000 foreign fighters, making these countries an "international finishing school for extremists."