ISIL attacks Jakarta in first strike at Indonesia

ISIL attacks Jakarta in first strike at Indonesia

JAKARTA - Reuters
ISIL attacks Jakarta in first strike at Indonesia

AA photo

Indonesia blamed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for an attack by suicide bombers and gunmen in the heart of Jakarta on Jan. 14  that brought the radical group’s violence to the world’s most populous Muslim country for the first time. 

Seven people were killed in multiple blasts and a gunfight, and five of them were the attackers themselves, but the brazenness of their siege suggested a new brand of militancy in a country where low-level strikes on police are common. 

It took security forces about three hours to end the attack near a Starbucks cafe and Sarinah’s, Jakarta’s oldest department store, after a team of seven militants traded gunfire with police and blew themselves up. 
An Indonesian and a Canadian were killed in the attack. Twenty people, including an Algerian, Austrian, German and Dutchman, were wounded. 

Hours after police declared the attack over, there were fresh explosions in or around the same location, Kompas TV reported on its Twitter account. Police officials said they could not yet comment on the cause of the blasts. 

“Islamic State [ISIL] fighters carried out an armed attack this morning targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital,” Aamaaq news agency, which is allied to the group, said on its Telegram channel. 

Jakarta’s police chief told reporters: “ISIS is behind this attack definitely,” using a common acronym for Islamic State, and he named an Indonesian militant called Bahrun Naim as the man responsible for plotting it. 
Police believe Naim is in the Syrian city of Raqqa. 

The drama played out on the streets and on television screens, with at least six explosions and a gunfight in a movie theatre. But the low death toll pointed to the involvement of local militants whose weapons were rudimentary, experts said. 

“The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out. I see three dead people on the road. There has been a lull in the shooting but someone is on the roof of the building and police are aiming their guns at him,” Reuters photographer Darren Whiteside said as the attack unfolded. 

Police responded in force within minutes. Black armored cars screeched to a halt in front of the Starbucks and sniper teams were deployed around the neighborhood as helicopters buzzed overhead.