Terrorists target troubled teens

Terrorists target troubled teens
An Islamic State militant holds a gun while standing behind what are said to be Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website.

They may be bored, looking for excitement, or simply think that radicalism is an adventure.

Those were some of the reasons terrorism expert Dr Ahmed Salah Hashim cited to explain the trend of vulnerable young people being influenced by terrorist propaganda online.

While these youths may not be able to conduct a successful terrorist attack until they join an extremist group in their nefarious activities, it does not make them any less dangerous, said the associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).

In a press release yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) revealed that an unnamed 17-year-old post-secondary youth was arrested earlier this month under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for further investigations into the extent of his radicalisation.

Another youth, post-secondary student M Arifil Azim Putra Norja'i, 19, has been detained since April under the ISA for terrorism-related activities.

Arifil's first brush with radical ideology began in 2013 when he viewed terrorist propaganda online.

He became so enamoured with the violent tactics employed by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that he started hatching plans to join the group.

First, Arifil went online and tried to befriend people he thought could help him join ISIS.

He also looked up information on travel routes to Syria so that he could take part in armed violence there. His research even extended to making

improvised explosive devices, investigations revealed.

Arifil came up with a contingency plan in case he failed to join ISIS - to carry out violent attacks at key facilities and assassinate government leaders here.

Should that mission fail, he would then carryout attacks in public places using easily available weapons like knives to instil fear.

Arifil's intentions were confirmed by people whom he tried, but failed, to recruit, MHA said.

The ministry became aware of Arifil's plans when someone close to him noticed the changes in the student and alerted the authorities.

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