Five terror suspects arrested in several locations in West Java on Saturday were planning to carry out car-bomb attacks, police said Sunday.
Among the evidence police seized during the raids was an old blue Mitsubishi Lancer parked near the rented house of one of the suspects in Cibiru, Bandung, West Java, which was to be used in an attack, an officer from the police counterterror squad Detachment 88 said. It was not known who the suspected terrorists were targeting.
The police arrested two terrorist suspects at the house: Fahri Tanjung, also known as Hilmi, and Hamzah. The police also found chemicals they believed were to be used to make explosives and an activated hand-made high-explosive bomb inside the house.
West Java Police chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman said the police detonated the high-explosive bomb on location after failing to defuse it.
Books and VCDs on jihad, as well as an air rifle were seized as evidence. One of the VCDs was titled Afghanistan jihad: The journey of the oppressed.
Sutarman said the suspects had been involved in acts of terrorism in the country over the last few years.
He said the arrests proved terror cells formed by Jamaah Islamiyah operators Noordin M. Top and Azahari bin Husin remained active.
Azahari was shot dead in Malang in November 2005, and Noordin was slain in a raid in Surakarta in September 2009.
Also on Saturday, the police nabbed three other terror suspects in Subang and Cileunyi, both in West Java, when they stormed a house and arrested Abdul Gofur and his wife Aneu.
Local residents said they did not hear any gunshots at the time of the raid.
In Cileunyi, Detachment 88 members arrested a man identified as Kiki or Aceng. All of the suspects have been taken to National Police headquarters in Jakarta.
In August last year, a similar car-bomb attack plan was uncovered when an antiterror squad raided a house in Jatiasih, Bekasi, West Java. Two suspects were shot dead and several others were arrested.
One of the arrested suspects in last year’s raid, Amir Abdillah, testified in court in February that he had prepared a pick-up truck to be used as a car bomb to attack President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s motorcade.
Abdullah Sonata, a key terror figure arrested in Klaten, Central Java, in June, allegedly planned to car-bomb the Royal Danish Embassy in Kuningan, South Jakarta, in retaliation for a Danish newspaper that ran a cartoon depicting Prophet Muhammad.
Noor Huda Ismail, a terrorism commentator at the Institute for International Peace Building, said on Sunday the suspects arrested in the West Java raid belonged to the Sonata network.
“After his arrest, Sonata [told] the police about his network. Yesterday’s raid was based on Sonata’s information,” Noor Huda told The Jakarta Post.
Noor Huda said Sonata had leaked a lot of information to the police. “Another bigger crackdown may be looming,” he said.
Farihin, an ex-member of Jamaah Islamiyah, meanwhile, said the groups recently arrested in Bandung and Subang were accomplices of the late Enceng Kurnia, a terror suspect killed during a police raid in Aceh early this year.
“These people were in the middle of making explosives that they had intended to use in the immediate future,” he told the Post.
Terrorism commentator Dynno Chressbon said these groups shared a close affiliation with radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s newest group, the Jama’ah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT).
Recent intelligence reports showed these groups have long been planning to attack President Yu-dhoyono, he said.
A field operative with Detachment 88 who requested anonymity, confirmed that all evidence gathered in the field indicated the involvement of JAT.
Ba’asyir has denied any involvement in terrorist activities, insisting that JAT had different concerns.
— Yuli Tri Suwarni contributed to the story from Bandung.