Jakarta blasts: Police finger mastermind
An Indonesian man allegedly masterminded the deadly attack that killed seven people and injured 20 others in that country’s capital, Jakarta, on Thursday.
Police told the media during a press conference on Friday that Bahrun Naim funded the attack that was carried out by the Islamic State (IS).
Naim was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars for the illegal possession of weapons in 2011. He is now believed to be in Syria fighting for the IS.
Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian told Associated Press that Naim’s vision was to unite all IS-supporting elements in southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Earlier, media reports had said three men were arrested in connection with the attack.
However, national police spokesperson Major General Anton Charliyan told the press conference the three men were not arrested, but taken in for questioning and have not been directly linked to the bomb attack.
Chaos ensued when gunmen opened fire near a Starbucks coffee shop in Jakarta. Those killed include an Indonesian and a Canadian.
Officials said the attackers were armed with light weapons and suicide belts. Six blasts occurred about 50 metres apart in the central business district, which also houses a UN office.
A few hours after the attack, the IS claimed responsibility in a statement on social media, saying its soldiers targeted Westerners from countries fighting the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
NBC reported that Charliyan said an IS flag was found at the crime scene. “It is confirmed that the fragment-splinter IS group is responsible,” he said.
The Jakarta Post reported Karnavian as saying the attackers had links with the IS and were part of a group led by Indonesian militants in Syria.
Charliyan reportedly said two of the five dead attackers were “recidivists” who had previously been engaged in radical activities.
He added that police were taking extra precautions to ensure security in public places such as airports and ports.
– Staff reporter