Sultan Mosque holds anti-terrorism exercise; first time such a drill is held in place of worship

Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.
Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Nov 24, 2019, was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - The iconic Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam came under a "terror attack" on Sunday (Nov 24) as part of an exercise to test its readiness to deal with terrorism.

It was the first time such an exercise was held at a place of worship in Singapore, the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the mosque said in a joint statement on Monday.

Codenamed Exercise Heartbeat, the drill on Sunday was part of a series of anti-terrorism exercises held at various locations.

It was also held at the lobby of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport on May 17, and at Republic Polytechnic on July 23 this year.

Given the recent attacks on places of worship and religious institutions around the world, Exercise Heartbeat was aimed at validating and enhancing the mosque's contingency plans to better respond to a terror attack, the statement said.

In March this year, there were two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 49 people were killed and dozens injured, causing the government to place the country on its highest security threat level.

On Easter Sunday in April this year, a series of bombings took place in Sri Lanka, of which three of the locations included churches. More than 250 people were killed.

In preparation for the exercise at Sultan Mosque on Sunday, about 60 employees and volunteers from Sultan Mosque were trained in first aid and immediate response skills like running, hiding and reporting the attack.

A planning exercise was also conducted by the police and the mosque to identify gaps in response plans.

 

These efforts highlighted the importance for building owners to review their security measures and enhance their emergency preparedness, said the police and SCDF, adding that building owners are encouraged to develop contingency plans and train their staff and tenants to be familiar with the plans.