Singapore Islamist Confesses to Plotting Attacks

JAKARTA ~ A Singaporean Islamist who met Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan confessed this week to plotting attacks against Singapore’s Changi Airport and a US naval logistics command centre there.

“We did plan to attack Changi airport in 2000 and Sembawang naval base in 1999, but our plan was foiled by authorities,” Mohammad Hasan bin Saynudin, 35, said from his cell on Tuesday at the South Jakarta District Court where he is facing terror charges.

Hasan also said he was the ringleader of an alleged terror cell rounded up in Sumatra in the middle of last year and charged under Indonesia’s anti-terror laws with attacking Christians and plotting attacks against Western tourists.

The alleged member of Southeast Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah said he had been inspired by Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden and wanted to follow his example of “waging war against America.”

“In 2000 I went for military training in Afghanistan where I met Osama a few times while he was lecturing and giving his ideology on waging war against America,” he said.

Wearing a white turban and looking relaxed as he sat cross-legged in his cell, Hasan said Muslims had to fight the “infidels” and justified the murder of innocent people, even other Muslims.

“Attack is the best form of defence. When you enter a village and you see a dog which wants to attack you, what do you do? You take a stone and throw it at the dog so that it won’t attack you,” he said.

“This is a war against America and its allies. As long as the Americans pay tax to their government, they are supporting America” and can be justifiably killed, he said.

Hasan and seven other alleged members of a 10-man terror cell on trial here are facing death sentences for crimes including the murder of a Christian teacher and a plot to attack a cafe frequented by Western backpackers.

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