World

Racial harmony vital, says DPM Teo

Amid more carnage, PM Lee sends condolences

On a day when Singapore got news of two mass killings - in Munich, Germany, and the Afghan capital, Kabul - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent out a message about the risk of growing numb to such attacks.

In the latest of a string of attacks in Europe, a German-Iranian teenager, possibly inspired by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, opened fire, killing nine others and himself, five years to the day after the latter killed 77 people in Oslo and on the youth camp island of Utoya.

Mr Lee said in a Facebook post that he was shocked and that Singapore condemned the senseless act.

He added: "We have seen so many brutal terrorist attacks in recent months, one after another. We are at risk of becoming numbed, and have to remind ourselves of the terrible human tragedy each time."

Mr Lee also sent a letter of condolences to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Just hours later, at least 80 people were killed and 230 wounded in a suicide bombing at a protest held by Hazaras, a Shiite minority community in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also urged Singaporeans to strengthen their resolve to maintain peace and racial harmony.

Speaking on the sidelines of a community sports event in Pasir Ris, he said racial harmony would help in preventing, responding to, and recovering from such attacks.

"No country in the world today is immune from terrorism," he said. "That's why we have to prepare for all three phases: To prevent as much as possible, to respond if there's an attack, and most importantly, to maintain social harmony and unity should an attack happen."

There were no reports of Singaporean casualties in yesterday's attacks.