Tue, Jul 07, 2009
my paper
Gearing up for Mumbai-style attack

By Rachel Chan

THE Singapore authorities are gearing up for a Mumbai terrorist scenario as they prepare for Exercise Northstar
VII - the country's biggest anti-terror drill this year.

Last November, the Indian city was racked by terror attacks in multiple locations, leaving more than 170 dead and 300 wounded.

Yesterday, a pre-dawn assault on Sentosa's beachfront club, Cafe del Mar, marked the start of the exercise which simulates a major attack by 15 "terrorists" across 10 public areas.

Although the exercise will take place over three days, it is supposed to represent a series of attacks in a single evening.

"Learning from the Mumbai incident, it's clear terrorists can enter Singapore via sea and launch attacks on multiple locations," said Superintendent Devrajan Bala, the police's assistant director of operations planning in the Operations Department.

Previous Northstar exercises have included a fire on board a cruise ship and attacks on the public-transport system.

This year, the exercise aims to test the cooperation between agencies, such as police and the Singapore Armed Forces, and their response to a terrorist attack similar to what happened in Mumbai.

Supt Bala said: "Northstar VII is aimed at testing the various agencies' procedures and capabilities.

"We also want to reassure the public by running such a large-scale exercise, to show Singapore that we are ready to deal with such an incident should it happen in Singapore."

Similar mock attacks will be held at the Singapore Cruise Centre, Harbourfront, VivoCity and Cable Car Towers today, before the finale on July 15 where the showdown between the police and mock terrorists will be played out at Rasa Sentosa.

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