Canadian among those killed in Indonesia attacks
A Canadian man was killed in Indonesia’s capital Thursday when gunmen launched a series of co-ordinated attacks which police said were linked to the Islamic State group.
Jakarta police chief Maj.-Gen. Tito Karnavian told a news conference that the first attack — a suicide bombing — happened at a Starbucks, causing customers to run outside, where two gunmen opened fire, killing the Canadian and wounding an Indonesian bystander.
At about the same time two other suicide bombers attacked a nearby traffic police booth, killing themselves and an Indonesian man.
Moments later, Karnavian said, a group of policemen was attacked by two remaining gunmen, using homemade bombs. This led to a 15-minute gunfight, he said.
All five gunmen were killed and twenty people were wounded in the attacks, police said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was working with Indonesian authorities to confirm the reports of a Canadian killed in the attacks.
“The hearts of Canada and Canadians go out to the people of Indonesia and all the families and victims of these terrible attacks,” Trudeau said at an appearance in Kitchener, Ont.
“We’re of course going to be supporting the government in anything it needs from Canada through this difficult time.”
The federal government updated its travel advisory for Jakarta in the aftermath of the attacks, advising Canadians to remain vigilant, follow the advice of local authorities and avoid the city’s downtown area.
Islamic State group backers have circulated a claim of responsibility on Twitter for attack and Indonesian police said the attackers were affiliated with the Islamic State group.
A Canadian man working with the United Nations was in Jakarta for a meeting on Thursday and witnessed the panic triggered by the late-morning explosions.
Jeremy Douglas, of Port Perry, Ont., was in a car when he first got a call from a UN security officer advising him there had been a blast very close to the office he was heading to.
In minutes, he had arrived at the building and was getting out of his vehicle when a second explosion occurred.
“I hadn’t even closed the car door and you heard the explosion. It was right across the street, kitty-corner to the office, about 100 metres,” the 44-yearold told The Canadian Press. “It was a big sizable explosion, definitely could hear it, you could feel it.”
At first, it was unclear what had occurred and confusion abounded, Douglas said, but subsequent small blasts sent people scurrying for cover.
Douglas and his colleagues rushed into the UN office building to a secure floor where they could see police and other security forces responding to the attack.
While inside, he said he heard the sound of gunfire as assailants and police faced off.
“They started a shootout in the street,” he said. “We were witnessing the tactical team sweeping ... some armoured personnel carrier moved up the street. It was pretty crazy.”
The entire episode lasted about half an hour, Douglas said, and took place in a busy part of Jakarta’s downtown that is populated with many offices, hotels and embassies.
“There were a lot of people in the Starbucks,” he said, noting that UN staff had been injured at the cafe. “This is right in the centre of it, it’s pretty amazing that it was so few killed”
Indonesians lay flowers near the police post where a suicide bombing took place in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday. Attackers set off bombs and exchanged gunfire outside the cafe in Indonesia’s capital in a brazen assault that left a Canadian among those killed.