In­done­sian po­lice kill 3 mil­i­tant sus­pects in gun­fight, find bombs

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

JAKARTA: In­done­sian anti-ter­ror­ism po­lice killed three sus­pects in a gun­fight on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal, Jakarta, yes­ter­day and foiled a sui­cide bomb plot, a po­lice spokesman said.

The raid is the lat­est in a se­ries over re­cent weeks that po­lice say have dis­rupted bomb plots, rais­ing con­cern that home­grown mil­i­tants in the world’s largest Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity nation are get­ting bolder in their at­tempts to launch at­tacks.

Po­lice said this week that at least 14 peo­ple were be­ing in­ter­ro­gated over sui­cide bomb plots tar­get­ing the pres­i­den­tial palace in Jakarta and an an­other undis­closed lo­ca­tion. Both in­volved fe­male sui­cide bombers - a new tac­tic for In­done­sian mil­i­tants.

Af­ter Wednesday’s raid, po­lice said the sus­pects, who author­i­ties be­lieve are sup­port­ers of the Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group, had planned to stab of­fi­cers at a traf­fic post, and then det­o­nate a “large, home­made” bomb as crowds gath­ered.

The at­tack was planned for the end of the year. “The in­ten­tion was for a sui­cide bomb,” na­tional po­lice spokesman Rik­wanto, who like many In­done­sians uses only one name, told a news con­fer­ence. Po­lice said a to­tal of five bombs were found at the house in South Tangerang.

Tele­vi­sion footage

Tele­vi­sion footage showed a bomb squad of­fi­cer wear­ing a blast-re­sis­tant suit en­ter­ing the house as res­i­dents watched from be­hind a po­lice line. “Dur­ing the raid, we tried to be care­ful but they threw some­thing from in­side the house and it was a bomb but it did not ex­plode. Then they fired from in­side,” Rik­wanto ear­lier told Metro TV. He said one sus­pect was cap­tured. Sep­a­rately, po­lice ar­rested three more peo­ple in three near si­mul­ta­ne­ous raids in Su­ma­tra and Batam is­lands, on sus­pi­cion of work­ing with known mil­i­tants and help­ing eth­nic Uighur Mus­lims from China en­ter In­done­sia to join mil­i­tant net­works.

Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo com­mended se­cu­rity forces for pre­vent­ing at­tacks and called on the pub­lic to be vig­i­lant against the spread of rad­i­cal­ism. “We hope the pub­lic can also help for­tify this coun­try against ter­ror­ism and rad­i­cal­ism,” Wi­dodo said in a state­ment.

In­done­sia has suf­fered sev­eral ma­jor mil­i­tant at­tacks over the years, the worst of which was the 2002 bomb­ing on the hol­i­day is­land of Bali that killed 202 peo­ple, many of them for­eign­ers.

That at­tack led to Western help and fund­ing for an elite counter-ter­ror­ism unit, which has been ef­fec­tive in stamping out mil­i­tant cells. Author­i­ties, how­ever, now worry about a resur­gence in rad­i­cal­ism, in­spired in part by Is­lamic State.

A gun and bomb as­sault in the heart of Jakarta in Jan­uary killed four peo­ple and was the first at­tack in South­east Asia claimed by Is­lamic State. Po­lice have ar­rested dozens of sus­pected mil­i­tants in re­cent months, in­clud­ing a cell in In­done­sia’s Batam is­land that planned a rocket at­tack on neigh­bor­ing Sin­ga­pore.

Many sus­pects from the most re­cent ar­rests were found with mil­i­tary-grade ex­plo­sives and po­lice say they had been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with and re­ceiv­ing money from Bahrun Naim, an In­done­sian mil­i­tant known to be fight­ing with Is­lamic State in Syria.

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