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Jakarta Post

IS-linked suspects in Medan attack underwent training at tourist site Karo: Police

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan and Jakarta   /   Mon, November 18, 2019   /   06:47 pm
IS-linked suspects in Medan attack underwent training at tourist site Karo: Police Personnel of the National Police's Mobile Brigade walk toward the Medan Police headquarters on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 to support security measures following the suicide bombing at the headquarters. (Antara/Irsan Mulyadi)

The North Sumatra Police have revealed that Karo, a regency in North Sumatra famous as a tourist destination, was the site of a training ground for suspected terrorists who plotted the recent suicide bombing at Medan police headquarters.

The police found that the suicide bomber was affiliated with Islamic State-linked homegrown terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), and authorities have also discovered that the attack was premeditated and that the suspects had undergone training beforehand.

As of Monday, the police had named 23 individuals suspects for having roles in the suicide bombing at the Medan Police headquarters, which injured six people, including four police officers, one nonpermanent staffer and one civilian.

North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Agus Andrianto said they had found that the suspected terrorists had undergone training in Karo that equipped them with the ability to, among other things, launch attacks on any target, as the police suspected that the group might try to commit terror attacks in other places.

“[The targets] can be places of worship as well as public and government facilities. [The attacks] are their tricks to declare their existence,” Agus said on Monday.

He added the suspected terrorists had also prepared some weapons such as firearms, explosive devices and sharp weapons that could be used to attack other targets. The police had confiscated the weapons as evidence in the case.

Karo, with its hot springs in the tourist area of Berastagi city and coffee farms, is among the province’s favorite tourist sites. Berastagi itself is famous for its two active volcanoes, namely Mount Sibayak and Mount Sinabung.

Read also: Medan suicide bomber pledged allegiance to new IS leader before attack: Think tank

National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo confirmed that the attacker -- Rabbial Muslim Nasution -- and a woman, identified only as DA, had participated in the training at Karo's Mount Sibayak and that they had been members of JAD.

He went on to say that among the 23 named suspects following the attack, 20, including DA, had been detained for questioning, while two men suspected to be the suicide bomb assemblers were shot dead during a shootout with police personnel. Rabbial himself died in the explosion.

The suicide bombing occurred at about 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday.

Following the attack, the police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad had also arrested four other suspected terrorists in Banten, three in Jakarta, nine in Central Java, six in West Java and one in East Kalimantan as of Monday, Antara news agency reported. (kuk)