IS in Syria fund­ing at­tack

Po­lice point fin­ger of blame fol­low­ing Jakarta sui­cide bomb­ings

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

An au­da­cious at­tack by sui­cide bombers in the heart of In­done­sia’s cap­i­tal was funded by the Is­lamic State group, po­lice said Fri­day, as they seized an IS flag from the home of one of the at­tack­ers and car­ried out raids across the coun­try in which one sus­pected mil­i­tant was killed.

Na­tional po­lice chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti told re­porters that Thurs­day’s at­tack was funded by IS through Bahrun Naim, an In­done­sian who spent one year in jail for il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of weapons in 2011, and is now in Syria fight­ing for the group.

Sup­port­ers of IS also cir­cu­lated a claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack on Twit­ter late Thurs­day. The rad­i­cal group con­trols ter­ri­tory in Syria and Iraq, and its am­bi­tion to cre­ate an Is­lamic caliphate has at­tracted some 30,000 for­eign fight­ers from around the world, in­clud­ing a few hun­dred In­done­sians and Malaysians.

The IS link, if proved, poses a chal­lenge to In­done­sian se­cu­rity forces. Un­til now, the group was known only to have sym­pa­thiz­ers with no ac­tive cells ca­pa­ble of plan­ning and car­ry­ing out a plot such as Thurs­day’s in which five men at­tacked a Star­bucks cafe and a traf­fic po­lice booth with hand­made bombs, guns and sui­cide belts. They killed two peo­ple, one a Cana­dian and the other an In­done­sian, and in­jured 20 in the first ma­jor at­tack in In­done­sia since 2009. The mil­i­tants were killed, ei­ther by their sui­cide vests or by po­lice.

The at­tack “was funded by ISIS in Syria through Bahrun Naim,” Haiti told re­porters af­ter Fri­day prayers, us­ing an acro­nym for the Is­lamic State group. He did not elab­o­rate. He also iden­ti­fied one of the five at­tack­ers as Su­nakim, who in 2010 was sen­tenced to seven years in jail for his in­volve­ment in mil­i­tary-style train­ing in Aceh, but was re­leased early.

Po­lice con­ducted raids across In­done­sia but was it un­clear whether those ar­rested were sus­pected of links to the bomb­ing or if po­lice were round­ing up mil­i­tants as part of a broader crack­down in its af­ter­math. They also out­lined a par­tial re­con­struc­tion of events based on se­cu­rity cam­era video, part of which showed a Star­bucks cus­tomer es­cap­ing from the grip of a bomber be­fore he det­o­nated his sui­cide bomb. Po­lice did not iden­tify the cus­tomer but said he or she suf­fered mi­nor in­juries.

AP PHOTO

Ac­tivists hold a ban­ner dur­ing a rally con­demn­ing Thurs­day’s at­tack out­side the Star­bucks cafe where it took place in Jakarta, In­done­sia, Fri­day.

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