Indonesian police kill 3 suspects in gunfight after bombs found
JAKARTA – ReutersIndonesian anti-terrorism police killed three suspects after a gunfight on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta, on Dec. 21, and foiled a suicide bomb plot, a police spokesman said.
The raid is the latest in a series over recent weeks that police say have disrupted bomb plots, raising concerns that homegrown militants in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation are getting bolder in their attempts to launch attacks.
Police said earlier this week that at least 14 people were being interrogated over suicide bomb plots targeting the presidential palace in Jakarta and an undisclosed location outside Java island. Both involved a female suicide bomber - a new tactic for Indonesian militants.
After the Dec. 21 raid, police said the suspects, who authorities believe are supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), had planned to stab officers at a traffic post, and then detonate a “large, homemade” bomb as crowds gathered.
The attack was planned for the end of the year.
“The intention was for a suicide bomb,” national police spokesman Rikwanto, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, told a news conference.
Police said a total of five bombs were found at the house in South Tangerang.
Television footage showed a bomb squad officer wearing a blast-resistant suit entering the house as locals watched from behind a police line.
“During the raid, we tried to be careful but they threw something from inside the house and it was a bomb but it did not explode. Then they fired from inside,” Rikwanto earlier told Metro TV.
He said one suspect was captured alive.
President Joko Widodo commended security forces for preventing attacks and called on the public to be vigilant against the spread of radicalism.
“We hope the public can also help fortify this country against terrorism and radicalism,” Widodo said in a statement.
Indonesia has suffered several major militant attacks over the years, the worst of which was the 2002 bombing on the holiday island of Bali that killed 202 people, many of them foreigners.
That attack led to Western help and funding for Indonesia to develop an elite counter-terrorism unit, which has been effective in stamping out militant cells.