Indonesia Arrests 11 Militants Over Suspected US Embassy Attack
Indonesia’s anti-terrorist squad has arrested 11 people they suspect are Islamic militants who planned to attack the US Embassy, a plaza near Australia’s Embassy, and also the offices of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold.
The country’s Detachment 88 squad arrested the group and seized bomb-making equipment and one bomb that was ready to be used by the new militant group, called Harakah Sunni for the Indonesian Society (HASMI), reports Reuters.
National Police spokesman Suhardi Alius stated that the arrests on the island of Java were just the latest step in a crackdown against militants. Authorities have arrested dozens and seven people have been killed in the crackdown so far. Alius stated:
“The first piece of evidence was found at a housing complex in Maduin (Java), a bomb ready to detonate, as well as raw materials for bomb making and instruction books on how to make bombs.”
He listed the group’s targets as the US Consulate in Surabaya, East Java, its embassy in Jakarta, Plaza 89 in Jakarta, and the offices of mining company Freeport. Alius added that HASMI also intended to target the Mobile Police Brigade in Srondol, Java.
Fox News notes that Alius went on to say:
“From evidence found at the scene, we believe that this group was well prepared for serious terror attacks.”
Police are still investigating if the HASMI group has any ties to established terrorist groups, like Jemaah Islamiyah. Indonesia has been battling terrorists since militants linked to Jeemah Islamiyah bombed Bali in 2002, killing 202 people, most of whom were foreign terrorists.
Attacks since then have killed more than 50 people, mostly native Indonesians. The government has also arrested more than 700 suspected terrorists and killed dozens more in an attempt to root out the militants.
Police warned of a possible terrorist threat in Bali earlier this month, which was reportedly going to target the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the deadly bombings.
The arrests of the alleged HASMI militants are the first in recent years that have involved a group planning to target foreign facilities.