Terror suspects killed during police raid in Indonesia

Police believe Islamic State-linked group was planning an attack in West Java
Terror suspects killed during police raid in Indonesia

Police examine debris after the bombing of Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church in East Java on May 13, 2018. A series of blasts struck churches in Indonesia, killing at least 30 people and injuring dozens. (AFP photo)

Two alleged terrorists were killed during a police raid in West Java, Indonesia. One died of gunshot wounds and the other died after blowing up himself to avoid capture in the raid in Bekasi, near capital Jakarta, on May 4.

Special Detachment 88, an anti-terrorism squad, also arrested a suspect who informed police about the hiding place of his accomplices. Based on his information, police arrested four others in Central Java on May 5.

National police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said those arrested belonged to the Islamic State-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has carried out several attacks including bombings of churches.

“The group has long planned to attack the police, particularly during the election,” Indonesian news portal detik.com quoted Prasetyo as saying, referring to last month’s presidential and legislative elections.

He said those who died or were arrested by police are linked with another JAD group in Lampung on Sumatra Island, some of whom were killed during a police raid in Sibolga in early April. They had established a new cell in Bekasi because of its closeness to Jakarta.

“They rented a house a few weeks ago and planned to launch an attack soon. But police intelligence discovered them before they executed the plan,” Prasetyo said

Al Chaidar, a terrorism expert from Malikussaleh University in Aceh, said JAD is very much alive in the western region of Indonesia. “It is strong, well structured and has many active members,” he said.

JAD has about 34,000 members spread throughout Indonesia, although the group was banned by the Indonesian government in July 2018, he said.

JAD’s leader and founder Aman Abdurrahman was sentenced to death in June 2018 for his involvement in various terror attacks in Indonesia, including suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya in May 2018 that killed at least 30 people.

Al Chaidar warned of possible attacks by another active terrorist group, Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT), which is based in Poso in Central Sulawesi province.

“The group doesn’t have a leader, but its members are lone rangers, moving in small cells,” he said.

He said these groups are linked with Islamic State and have planned to make Indonesia their base after IS was defeated in Syria.

Al Chaidar called on police to remain alert and not to allow any disturbances to take place while the General Election Commission is counting poll results.

“They [terrorists] will jump in when there is a riot,” he said, adding that mass protests are the easiest way to create chaos and seize police weapons.

While praising the police "pre-emptive strike" in Bekasi, he warned them that terrorists have made police officers their main target.

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Al Chaidar also called on authorities to increase security at churches, temples and police stations because many JAD cells are active and will retaliate when their members are killed or arrested. 

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