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U.S. Mission Was Target, Island Says

January 08, 2002|From Associated Press

SINGAPORE — Suspected Al Qaeda terrorists armed with bomb-making instructions planned to attack the U.S. Embassy and American businesses in Singapore, the island's government said Monday.

The 15 suspects--some of them members of Singapore's military--were detained last month after authorities found bomb information along with photographs and videotapes of targeted buildings in the suspects' homes and offices.

"The U.S. Embassy and U.S. commercial entities were the principal targets," said Ong Chew Peck Wan, a spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Ministry.

Investigators also found materials linked to Al Qaeda, along with falsified passports and forged immigration stamps, according to the Home Affairs Ministry.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher praised Singapore's efforts.

"We applaud this specific action. We think it reflects their determination to fight against international terrorism," he said.

The suspects also have ties to militant groups in Malaysia and Indonesia, the ministry said in a statement. Malaysian police have arrested 13 people since Dec. 9 on suspicion of being members of an extremist group with possible links to three men accused of involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S.

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