Agencies hold counter-terrorism drill at Changi Airport”, CCTP interview to The New Paper newspaper

Five gunmen and a suicide bomber stormed Changi Airport MRT station and Terminal 3 (T3) in the early hours of Tuesday, shooting commuters and detonating a bomb.

The attackers were later neutralised in the T3 transit area, and a robot defused an improvised explosive device.

Fortunately, this was a mock assault staged as part of the 10th Exercise Northstar, introduced in 1997 to test the readiness of national agencies in handling terrorist attacks.

The operation, led by the police, involved about 650 personnel from various agencies, including the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), Singapore Armed Forces, Changi Airport Group and SMRT.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who observed the exercise with several Cabinet ministers, said: “It is completely plausible that something like this would happen in Singapore one day, and if it does happen, we must be quite sure that our responders are ready for it.”

Certified Counter Terrorism Practitioner programme director Yaniv Peretz told The New Paper that airports, being national icons with symbolic value, are popular terrorist targets.

The second phase of Exercise Northstar at the Home Team Tactical Centre on Oct 28 will be led by the SCDF.