The Jakarta Post
Blasts struck at the heart of Jakarta on Thursday, leaving at least seven people dead and 19 injured after suicide bombers and a group of armed men attacked Indonesia's capital city.
The deadly blasts and gun attacks took place in Jl. MH Thamrin, one of Jakarta's busiest main streets in Central Jakarta, located not far from government ministries and the State Palace.
The National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Anton Charliyan said on Thursday that all five terrorists died in the attack: two were suicide bombers and the rest died during a shoot-out with the police.
"All perpetrators are Indonesians and are dead," he told journalists.
There were four blasts recorded in the area, commonly known as Sarinah, where Jakarta's oldest shopping mall is located.
Civilians and police officers are among the 19 people injured and they were taken to several hospitals in Jakarta. At least five police officers are in critical condition from the blasts and gunshots.
Anton explained that the first bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber in the US-based Starbucks coffee shop at 10:50 a.m.
Not long after, there was a man riding a motorcycle approaching a police post in the Thamrin intersection who later detonated a bomb on himself.
Then, police officers surrounded Starbucks where two terrorists held two men as hostages and brought them to the parking lot, a Canadian and an Indonesian.
Under siege, the terrorists released random shots into Starbucks that killed the Canadian. The Indonesian hostage managed to escape although he suffered from injuries.
The terrorists also shot police officers and threw grenades that lead to a shoot-out at noon.
Police found five bombs with bigger impact believed to be exploded by the group.
"We suspect that the first bomb was for fishing for a bigger explosion," he said.
Anton said the perpetrators are believed to be related to the radical Islamic State (IS) group as there were warnings from the group after the attacks that killed 130 people in a string of attacks in Paris in November.
"There were warnings two months ago. An IS leader said there would be a concert in Indonesia and Indonesia would be in international news from terrorist attacks," he said.
"It seems like they have one ideology [as IS], which is to establish the Islamic State of Indonesia."
He went on saying that the perpetrators could be affiliated with past terrorism groups in Indonesia.
Police and foreigners became the target of the group, seen from the choice of the location of the Starbucks coffee.
Police are on the hunt for the alleged related groups. Police also searched footage from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras spread throughout the area and also took clues from the bullets used by the terrorists.
There are 1,085 radical groups working underground as recorded by the National Police, Anton added. Still, police would focus in their investigation on which group was linked to the attacks.
Anton said the current situation is under control as police officers and the Indonesian Military (TNI) tightened security across the country, especially in Jakarta. The capital city is now under alert status following the attacks.
He refused to say that police were negligent in not anticipating the attacks.
"We have given our maximum efforts. If people think we don't work hard enough then we apologize. We are not perfect. Police are humans too," he said.
Anton claimed that police had arrested 16 people in December following security operations before the Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations. (rin)
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x