News World Jakarta attack prompts search for terrorists

Jakarta attack prompts search for terrorists

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Indonesian authorities have vowed to round up members of a terror cell behind the deadly bomb and gun attack on Jakarta.

Islamic State (IS) has taken responsibility for the assault that claimed the lives of two innocent people and five attackers at a busy intersection in the capital on Thursday.

Police suspect the mastermind is an Indonesian IS recruit known as Bahrun Naim, an ex-prisoner from central Java they believe is in Raqqa, Syria.

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In November, he wrote a blog post in praise of the Paris terror attacks, encouraging similar actions in Indonesia.

Authorities in December disrupted plans by a terror cell they believe was influenced by Naim and events in Paris – it had been planning a “concert” of attacks targeting police and foreigners.

Co-ordinating Security Minister Luhut Pandjaitan says police have the investigation in hand.

“It seems the police have seen the connecting thread, but I think I can’t or I’m not able to say more,” he told reporters on Friday.

National Police Spokesman Anton Charliyan says an “ISIS flag” was found among the possessions of one of the attackers.

Two of the five were previously convicted and jailed for terror offences.

Police know the whereabouts of further suspects, he said.

“We have them in our pocket and we can identify them – whether it be in Java or outside Java,” he said.

Three men were captured in dawn raids on a house at Depok, West Java on Thursday, suspected of being a bomb maker, weapons expert and preacher.

It later emerged the trio was not linked with the Jakarta attack.

At the scene of the attack, which played out between a Starbucks cafe and a traffic police booth, life had largely returned to normal on Friday. Jakarta citizens showed their defiance rallying around the social media hashtag “Kami Tidak Takut” (We are not afraid”).

Hundreds of school children gathered in the city’s centre on Friday afternoon with handmade banners reading “we’re not afraid of terrorists” and “fight terrorism”.

Others went to the police post and left prayers and flowers, while President Joko Widodo visited staff at the nearby Sarinah department store.

Several nations including Australia offered support to Jakarta, however Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi says the situation is under control.

“The quick response within three hours was greatly appreciated by international world,” she told reporters.

In a statement late on Thursday, IS said: “A group of soldiers of the caliphate in Indonesia targeted a gathering from the crusader alliance that fights the Islamic State in Jakarta”.

The attack marks the first time IS has attacked in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest population of Muslims.

Police have been largely successful in destroying domestic militant cells since the Bali bombings of 2002 and 2005.


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