IS-linked suicide attackers hit Jakarta; seven killed

Seven serial blasts rocked Jakarta today. The Army has been deployed in the city. Islamic State carried out the attacks in Jakarta earlier on Thursday, a news agency allied to the group reported.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 14, 2016 9:27 pm
Jakarta blast, indonesia blast, jakarta explosion A series of blasts in Jakarta, Indonesia have left at least six people dead and several injured. (Christian Hubel via AP)

At least seven blasts were heard in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta late Thursday morning leaving at least seven, including five attackers, dead, police officials said, announcing that the attack has ended.

The first blast reportedly took place at a Starbucks cafe in Jalan Thamrin across Sarinah Plaza. The second blast took place outside a police kiosk located near the Sarinah mall. There is no confirmation as yet on whether the third blast that took place in that locality was a grenade or a suicide bomber. No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Watch video | One blast outside a coffee shop that rocked the Indonesian capital on Thursday morning

According to police officials, all seven blasts took place in the vicinity of each other.

“We have previously received a threat from Islamic State that Indonesia will be the spotlight,” police spokesman Anton Charliyan told reporters. But he said police did not know who was responsible.

UPDATES:

8:44 pm The Islamic State group today claimed responsibility for deadly shootings and suicide bombings that rocked the Indonesian capital.

In a statement published online, the jihadist group said that a number of bombs “detonated at the same time as attacks from four soldiers of the caliphate… with light weapons and suicide belts.”

8:12 pm “There was the sound of an explosion, suspected to be from a truck tyre. But we don’t want to underestimate anything. We want to keep things secure,” police spokesman Mohammad Iqbal told reporters.

8:01 pm A fresh round of explosions were heard in central Jakarta on Thursday, Kompas TV reported on its Twitter account, near the area where a deadly gun and bomb assault by militants took place just hours earlier.

6:46 pm In the Philippines, the military went on “heightened alert” following the attacks in neighboring Indonesia, although it said no specific terrorist threats had been monitored.

6:09 pm My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones in the reprehensible attack in Jakarta. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured: PM Modi

4. 15 pm:  Islamic State carried out the attacks in Jakarta earlier on Thursday, a news agency allied to the group reported.

“Islamic State 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 said on its Telegram channel.

Militants launched a gun and bomb assault in the centre of the Indonesian capital on Thursday, killing at least six people, police said, in an attack on a country that Islamic State had threatened to put in its “spotlight”.

2. 50 pm: Indonesia’s national police spokesperson says those who attacked downtown Jakarta were copying the recent Paris attacks and were probably connected to the Islamic State group.

Gen. Anton Charliyan said “They imitated the terror actions in Paris … they are likely from the (Islamic State) group.”

2:10 pm: A total of 17 people were killed in the Jakarta attacks – five gunmen were among the dead and another five policemen as well as seven civilians were killed, police told Al Jazeera.

2:00 pm: Associated Press reports, quoting police officials, that the encounter has ended and that security forces are in control of downtown Jakarta.

1.05 pm: BBC reports that the deputy police chief Budi Gunawan has made a statement on the attacks.

Gunawan says four perpetrators have been killed – two in a shootout in front of the Djakarta Theater, and two in a suicide bomb at the police post in front of Sarinah shopping centre, across Starbucks. Two civilians have been killed, one of whom is a foreigner. Ten people are wounded, including five police officers, and one Algerian.

 

12.15 pm: Starbucks releases statement on Jakarta attacks

We are deeply saddened by the senseless acts that have taken place in Jakarta today; our hearts are with the people of Indonesia. 

Amidst reports of attacks targeting police posts throughout central Jakarta, initial reports are that an explosion took place close to our store in the Skyline building near one of these police posts. One customer sustained injuries and was treated on the scene; our partners (employees) are all confirmed to be safe. This store and all other Starbucks stores in Jakarta will remain closed, out of an abundance of caution, until further notice.

We are monitoring this situation closely, and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

12.00 pm: Jakarta police spokesman Col. Muhammad Iqbal says seven people including four attackers have been killed in the brazen attacks.

He says police have recovered the bodies of the attackers, but it is not clear if more remain at large.

11.45 am: The army has been called in to engage with the attackers.

11. 35 am: Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo termed the Jakarta blasts as an ‘acts of terror’. “These are acts of terror. We cannot be afraid and we cannot be defeated.” He is on his way back to Jakarta, cutting short his trip to Java.

11.25 am: The United States has issued an advisory to all its citizens in Indonesia: “This emergency message is being issued to advise all US citizens to avoid the area around Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and Sarinah Plaza on Jalan Sudirman Thamrin, in downtown Jakarta.  Preliminary reports indicate an explosion and gunfire has occurred in the general vicinity and situation continues to unfold.”

11.15 am: Indonesian news outlet Detik reports that a stand-off is currently underway at the Cakrawala building in central Jakarta. The report states that the blast perpetrators, who are armed, are holed up on the fourth floor.

 

 

 

 

 

jakarata, indonesia, jakarta blast, indonesia blast, indonesia news Jakarta blasts: Bodies are seen at the blast site in Indonesia, as a police officer walks near the post damaged by it. Local television reported more explosions in other parts of the city. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Among the first victims was a police official. It was unclear if he died due to the explosion or the gun-battle that ensued.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Indonesia correspondent Jewel Topsfield quotes Indonesia’s national police spokesman Anton Charliyan as saying: “Up to six suspected terrorists involved. Four people have been killed including one policeman.”

According to Channel News Asia, the attackers threw grenades at the police kiosk and then began firing indiscriminately. The news channel also reports that the police had prior information about an attack.

Police officials have been asking those occupying buildings in the vicinity to stay away from windows, an eye-witness tweeted.

The location is among the busiest streets of Jakarata with commercial establishments in the locality as well as the United Nations office.

Over the last week, police officials have made several arrests, Al Jazeera reports.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, the vast majority of whom practise a moderate form of the religion.

The country saw a spate of militant attacks in the 2000s, the deadliest of which was a nightclub bombing on the holiday island of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them tourists.

Police have been largely successful in destroying domestic militant cells since then, but officials have more recently been worrying about a resurgence inspired by groups such as Islamic State and Indonesians who return after fighting with the group.

The last major militant attacks in Jakarta were in July 2009, with bombs at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels.

With inputs from Reuters