In­done­sia nabs woman, oth­ers in thwarted Jakarta bomb plot

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

In­done­sian po­lice said they safely det­o­nated a bomb on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal af­ter ar­rest­ing a fe­male would-be sui­cide bomber and other sus­pected Is­lamic mil­i­tants who were al­legedly plan­ning to at­tack the pres­i­den­tial palace this week­end. The thwarted plot is likely to cause par­tic­u­lar con­cern in In­done­sia be­cause of the pos­si­bil­ity that women with mil­i­tant net­work as­so­ci­a­tions are now be­ing re­cruited into more ac­tive roles, in­clud­ing plot­ting and car­ry­ing out attacks.

“This marks a new chap­ter of ter­ror­ism in In­done­sia, where the sui­cide bomb­ing was to be car­ried out by a woman,” ter­ror­ism an­a­lyst Rid­wan Habib said in an in­ter­view with In­done­sian TV. Umar Surya Fana, the po­lice chief of Bekasi, a Jakarta satel­lite city, said the mil­i­tants were fol­lowed by a po­lice coun­tert­er­ror­ism squad as they drove to Jakarta from Solo in cen­tral Java. The city is known for its rad­i­cal mosques and Is­lamic board­ing schools. Po­lice said two men were ar­rested af­ter drop­ping the 27-yearold woman at the board­ing house with the pres­sure cooker bomb. A fourth sus­pect, a man, was ar­rested in Solo, said Jakarta po­lice spokesman Argo Yu­wono. The bomb po­ten­tially could have caused dam­age within a wide area, Yu­wono said. Peo­ple liv­ing within a 300-me­ter (yard) ra­dius of the board­ing house were evac­u­ated dur­ing the po­lice op­er­a­tion on Saturday.

Po­lice be­lieve the mil­i­tants were plan­ning to bomb a pres­i­den­tial guard-chang­ing cer­e­mony on Sun­day that is a tourist at­trac­tion in Jakarta, Fana said. The woman’s will, which was re­trieved by po­lice af­ter the group stopped at a post of­fice to mail it to her fam­ily, stated her de­sire to take part in “amaliyah,” an Ara­bic term used by ex­trem­ist groups for attacks or sui­cide bomb­ings.

“They de­lib­er­ately chose the tar­get on a Sun­day, when many fam­i­lies are hang­ing out around the na­tional mon­u­ment and near the palace, with the in­ten­tion of caus­ing a lot of ca­su­al­ties,” said Habib, the an­a­lyst. Po­lice said those ar­rested are sus­pected to be part of a mil­i­tant net­work re­spon­si­ble for a bomb-mak­ing lab raided last month in West Java prov­ince that was op­er­at­ing un­der the direc­tion of Bahrun Naim, an In­done­sian fight­ing with the Is­lamic State group in Syria.

He was linked to the at­tack in Jan­uary in Jakarta that killed eight peo­ple, in­clud­ing the at­tack­ers, and sev­eral un­suc­cess­ful attacks in In­done­sia since then. Those ar­rested in last month’s raid planned to bomb tar­gets in Jakarta, in­clud­ing the par­lia­ment and the Myan­mar Em­bassy. Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity In­done­sia has car­ried out a sus­tained crack­down on mil­i­tants since the 2002 bomb­ings on the tourist is­land of Bali by al-Qaida-af­fil­i­ated rad­i­cals that killed 202 peo­ple. But a new threat has emerged in the past sev­eral years from IS sym­pa­thiz­ers.

— AP

BEKASI: Of­fi­cers stand guard around a house af­ter it was raided by po­lice.

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