Around 11am (1500 AEDT) today, terror struck Jakarta, Indonesia, when explosions and shooting broke out near the offices of the UN, according to SBS.
Seven people have been killed. Three terror suspects are among those who perished in the series of attacks, according to Indonesian police.
Four other victims – three civilians and one police officer – were killed.
Police spokesman Gen Anton Charliyan says the attack appeared to copy November’s attack on Paris. Guns and bombs were used.
Police believe it is likely that the attacks were carried out by the ISIS terrorist group.
“[The Jakarta attacks] imitated the terror actions in Paris… they are likely from the (Islamic State) group.”
Police also revealed that they received information in late November about a threat issued by the Islamic State group. Apparently ISIS communicated that “there will be a concert” in Indonesia, meaning an attack.
It is not known what medium — social media, website text, etc. — the terror group used to communicate the dire warning. It is possible that the information was leaked to police by one of the hacktivist groups that have committed to fighting ISIS (eg. Anonymous), but this has not been confirmed.
Jakarta is pretty much Ankh-Morpork. https://t.co/JwDCW9i3FM— echo Ash; (@AshHauenschild) January 14, 2016
Metro have published a series of photographs of the gunmen as they carried out the attacks.
It is not the first major attack by jihadists in Indonesia. Indonesia suffered several major bomb attacks by Islamic radicals between 2000 and 2009. The best known of these is the 2002 strike on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, which made international headlines due to its high death toll and proximity to the 9/11 attacks.
The Guardian reports that a security crackdown in Indonesia had led to a long stint (2009 – present) without any major terrorist atrocities on Indonesian soil. This peaceful spell has now been broken.
Analysts believe that around 500-700 Indonesians travelled abroad to join ISIS since the caliphate was declared. Scores have since returned, and Indonesian authorities are on edge.
Kumar Ramakrishna, a counter-terrorism analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, says that ISIS would like to extend its presence to the South-East Asian region.
“We know that ISIS has the desire to declare a province in this region.”
It is believed that up to fourteen gunman were involved today — three of these men were killed.
Indonesian authorities have urged people not to be afraid, and stated that they will not be intimidated by terrorists.
Police snipers and hundreds of other security officers were deployed. Some of the officers rode in armored vehicles.
One of the blasts reportedly took place in a Starbucks cafe. A bomb disposal unit was seen entering the building where the Starbucks is located.
Images showing the damage wrought at the Starbucks have found their way to social media. One picture shows how the windows were blasted out during the attacks.
Social media users have taken to Twitter to express their sorrow at the atrocities.
This is truly sickening and disgusting that this is still happening in this world in 2016!! #PrayForJakarta— Keefer Fleming (@keithflemingBS) January 14, 2016
We need more love and peace in this world not terrorism and hatred. I wish for a peaceful world. Stay safe wherever u are #PrayForJakarta— 5SOS TUMBLR POSTS (@5SOSTumblrx) January 14, 2016
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that Indonesians would not be defeated by the acts of terror, though they will grieve for the fallen. The president’s comments were broadcast on MetroTV.
“Our nation and our people should not be afraid, we will not be defeated by these acts of terror…We all are grieving for the fallen victims of this incident, but we also condemn the act that has disturbed the security and peace and spread terror among our people.”
[Photo via Flickr by 3aref 6ari2o/CC BY-SA 2.0]