Jakarta blasts: Po­lice fin­ger mas­ter­mind

CityPress - - News -

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

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