THE ISLAMIC State (IS) terror network on Friday claimed responsibility for the Jakarta bus station attack that killed three police officers and injured at least 12 people.
The group’s news agency Amaq reportedly confirmed the group’s involvement, saying: “The executor of the attack on the Indonesian police gathering in Jakarta was an Islamic State fighter.”
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No other details were made available.
Indonesian police had earlier said there was a “large possibility” the twin suicide bombings were carried out by fighters with links to IS.
The two bombers responsible for the attack have been identified as Solihin, an administrative employee at an Islamic boarding school in Central Sulawesi, and Nurul Salam, a 34-year-old from Bandung, West Java.
According to The Straits Times, police believe one of the bombers had ties to militants in Poso, and that both were linked to IS.
This, the Singapore-based daily said, is because their use of “low-grade explosives and aluminium shrapnel” in what have been described as “pressure-cooker bombs” was similar to the modus operandi of Indonesian militants who have previously declared allegiance to the international terror network.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that Indonesia’s anti-terrorism unit raided the home of one of the suspected suicide bombers as authorities linked the attacks to IS.
Apart from the three reported dead, six police officers and six civilians were also wounded in the twin blasts set off five minutes apart by the two attackers in the Kampung Melayu area of the Indonesian capital late on Wednesday, police said.
The attack was the deadliest in Indonesia since January 2016, when eight people were killed, four of them attackers, after suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the capital.
“We must continue to keep calm (and) keep cool. Because … we Muslims are preparing to enter the month of Ramadan for fasting,” President Joko Widodo said in a statement.
Authorities in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation are increasingly worried about a surge in radicalism, driven in part by a new generation of militants inspired by Islamic State.
“It’s highly likely it was done by pro-ISIS people,” Jakarta-based security expert Sidney Jones told media, referring to Islamic State, adding that several groups in Indonesia may have carried out Wednesday’s attack.
National Police spokesman Awi Setyono said there was a link to Islamic State, but added, “We’re still studying whether it’s an international network.”
Earlier, he told reporters that police were investigating whether the attackers had direct orders from Syria or elsewhere.
A law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they may have been linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, an umbrella organization on a US State Department “terrorist” list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia.
Indonesia has suffered a series of mostly low-level attacks by Islamic State sympathizers in the past 17 months.
Residents helped clean up debris on Thursday at the East Jakarta bus terminal, littered with bloodstains and broken glass after the attacks.
“After what happened in Manchester, in Marawi in the Philippines, maybe the cells here were triggered by the bombs and that lifted their passion to start bombing again,” Setyono told television station TVOne.
He was referring to a suicide bombing this week that killed 22 people in a crowded concert hall in the British city of Manchester.
In the southern Philippines, thousands of civilians have fled their homes after Islamist militants took over large parts of Marawi city, leading to a declaration of martial law.
While most recent attacks in Indonesia have been poorly organized, authorities believe about 400 Indonesians have joined Islamic State in Syria and could pose a more lethal threat if they come home.
Police said Wednesday’s attack had targeted officers, using pressure cookers packed with explosives.
Additional reporting from Reuters