Saturday 21 April 2018

Dawn raids carried out as police say that Jakarta attack was funded by Isil

An explosion is seen outside the Starbucks in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the attack on Thursday. Photo: Reuters
An explosion is seen outside the Starbucks in Jakarta, Indonesia, during the attack on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta

An attack by suicide bombers in the heart of Indonesia's capital was funded by the Isil terrorist group, police said yesterday, as they seized an Isil flag from the home of one of the attackers and carried out raids across the country in which one suspected militant was killed.

National police chief General Badrodin Haiti told reporters that Thursday's attack was funded by Isil through Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian who spent one year in jail for illegal possession of weapons in 2011, and is now in Syria fighting for the group.

Supporters of Isil also circulated a claim of responsibility for the attack on Twitter. Isil controls territory in Syria and Iraq, and its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate has attracted some 30,000 foreign fighters from around the world, including a few hundred Indonesians and Malaysians.

The Isil link, if proved, poses a challenge to Indonesian security forces. Until now, the group was known only to have sympathisers with no active cells capable of planning and carrying out a plot such as Thursday's, in which five men attacked a Starbucks cafe and a traffic police booth with handmade bombs, guns and suicide belts.

They killed two people, one a Canadian and the other an Indonesian, and injured 20 in the first major attack in Indonesia since 2009. The militants were killed, either by their suicide vests or by police.

The attack "was funded by Isis (Isil) in Syria through Bahrun Naim," Gen Haiti said. He did not elaborate. He also identified one of the five attackers as Sunakim, who in 2010 was sentenced to seven years in jail for his involvement in military-style training in Aceh, but was released early.

Police conducted raids across Indonesia but was it unclear whether those arrested were suspected of links to the bombing or if police were rounding up militants as part of a broader crackdown in its aftermath.

They also outlined a partial reconstruction of events based on security camera video, part of which showed a Starbucks customer escaping from the grip of a bomber before he detonated his suicide bomb. Police did not identify the customer but said he or she suffered minor injuries.

National police spokesman Major General Anton Charliyan said an Isil flag was found in the home of one of the attackers and raids were conducted in Java, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, with four arrests made. He said three men arrested at dawn in their homes on the outskirts of Jakarta were no longer suspected of being linked to the attack.

Gun battle

Gen Haiti said a suspected militant was killed in a gun battle in central Sulawesi, the hiding place of Indonesia's most wanted Islamic radical, Abu Wardah Santoso, who leads the East Indonesia Mujahidin network that has pledged allegiance to Isil. He said the man wasn't linked to Thursday's attack.

Jakarta residents remained shaken by Thursday's events but refused to be cowed.

About 200 people, mostly youngsters with flowers in their hands, gathered in front of the Starbucks in a show of sympathy for the victims and solidarity against extremist violence. They unfurled posters that read: "We are not afraid."

Irish Independent

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