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Monday, September 04, 2006

Singapore opens new anti-terrorism training centre

Singapore, 4 Sept. (AKI) - A new anti-terrorism training centre, the Home Team Academy, will be inaugurated in Singapore on Saturday. The island-state's government decided to create the centre in the wake of terror threats made against Singapore by terrorist groups active in the region such as the al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiyah. The centre, which has a price tag of 267-million Singapore dollars, (169-million US dollars), will bring together all Singapore's home-front security agencies under one roof.

The centre is situated in a premises extending over a surface area almost as large as 16 football fields and houses several training facilities that will help simulate possible terrorist attacks such as car-bombs and coves which could be used to hide hostages.

According to the centre's director Tay Swee Yee, the aim is to improve the technical skills and "mental" aptitude of trainees.

"Expect the unexpected. When you are fixated with scenarios, then we are in trouble," Tay said in an interview with the daily, Today. "We want them (the trainees) to have a quick appreciation of what's happening in front of them

Authorities have previously announced that they thwarted several terrorist plots aimed at Singapore including planned attacks on January 2001, as well as in January, April, May 2002.

Besides the centre, Singapore authorities have also started training taxi drivers and tourist guides to be on the look out for situations that may indicate possible terrorist threats.
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