National Library attacked by terrorists in Exercise Heartbeat
Children involved in latest Exercise Heartbeat
Children are not spared from the horrors of terrorism and yesterday morning the sacred silence of the National Library was shattered by the sound of gunfire, as people fell and scrambled for cover.
In a simulation exercise, three gunmen crashed a car into the bollards of the National Library in Victoria Street, opening fire at civilians, including children.
The scenario had two of the attackers being shot by the police at the event plaza, while one entered the children's section in the library's basement.
It was there that he fell, in a chaotic shootout with the police, the children cowering between the shelves.
The counter-terrorism exercise, code-named Exercise Heartbeat, is in its 10th year.
It was organised by the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force and supported by the National Library Board.
The exercise involved 180 participants, including staff from those agencies and Stamford Primary School pupils, The Straits Times reported.
Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, was present to observe the exercise.
Speaking to the media, she said it was imperative that building owners and the community be prepared for such threats.
She said: "We have seen how vehicles overseas have been used to ram pedestrians.
"We have communicated to the public that it is not an issue of if, but when, and we want to make sure that members of the public are effectively prepared."
Ms Sun added that there have been more than 20 iterations of Exercise Heartbeat in the past decade.
The last one was held in April at Jurong Point shopping centre.
Each instance simulated terrorist attacks, mimicking real case studies of terrorism, including knife attacks, chemical agent attacks and bombings.
Superintendent Boey Pui San, the commanding officer of Marina Bay Neighbourhood Police Centre, said yesterday's exercise was a good opportunity to engage stakeholders and urged the community to work closely with the police and enhance crisis management efforts.
She said: "During a terror attack, it is important that details of the attackers such as their descriptions and whereabouts be conveyed to the police as soon as possible.
"This is so that the attackers can be swiftly captured, and loss of life be minimised."