JI militant escapes; hunt to nab is on

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Singapore, Feb 28 (UNI) Singapore police has mounted a massive operation to hunt the City-State's top terrorist who escaped from the tightly secured Whitley Road Detention Centre here.

Mas Selamat Kastari, 47 and the head of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) terror network, escaped yesterday afternoon. He had been in detention since he was deported from the Indonesian island of Bintan in 2006.

A Home Affairs Ministry statement said Mas Selamat Kastari walks with a limp and is presently at large though he is not known to be armed.

He is alleged to be involved in JI's plans to mount attacks against foreign and local establishments in Singapore, including the US Embassy, the American Club, the Defence Ministry headquarters and the Education Ministry building.

The militant had been on the run after Singapore authorities unearthed JI's plans to crash seven truck loaded with bombs at various locations around the island, according to a Channel News Asia report last night.

He is also alleged to be the mastermind behind a JI plan to hijack an airplane and crash it into Changi airport.

The JI is one of the most feared terrorist networks in Southeast Asia.

UNI XC RC VP0455

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