Indonesia holds ISIL-linked group deported from Turkey
JAKARTA – Agence France-PresseIndonesian police have detained 17 people with suspected links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after Turkey deported them due to concerns they wanted to enter Syria, an official said on Jan. 23.
Hundreds of people from Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, have flocked to join ISIL in the Middle East in recent years, stoking fears that radicals could launch attacks on home soil on their return.
The group, which included several children, was arrested at the international airport serving Jakarta on Jan. 21 after arriving on a flight from Istanbul, said national police spokesman Rikwanto.
Turkish authorities became suspicious the group was planning to enter Syria, where ISIL controls territory, and decided to send them back to Indonesia, said the spokesman, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
“There are indications they are involved with ISIL,” Rikwanto told AFP, adding authorities were trying to find out who had recruited them and given them funding.
Indonesian authorities have arrested groups of suspected radicals allegedly trying to head to Syria on several occasions in recent years.
The emergence of ISIL has provided a potent new rallying cry for radicals in Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamic militancy, and sparked fears of a revival of extremist networks.
A gun and suicide attack in Jakarta last year, that left four civilians and four attackers dead, was the first attack claimed by ISIL in Southeast Asia, and the first major assault in Indonesia for seven years.
There have been a series of other more minor attacks and plots linked to ISIL in recent times.