Jakarta, Indonesia – The world’s most populous Muslim country was attacked on Thursday right in the middle of the day in a busy central Jakarta commercial hub. The latest terror attacks left at least 3 people dead and 9 others wounded.
On Thursday afternoon, a group of aggressors began by detonating a suicide bomb at a Starbucks in a mall. Then, other assailants held two foreigners outside the coffee shop, dragged them into a parking lot and shot them. The group continued shooting people on the street, police said.
It took about 3 hours for security forces to end the attacks near a Starbucks store and Sarinah’s, Jakarta’s oldest department store, after a team of militants opened gunfire against the police to finally detonate a suicide bomb.
Security forces later put the streets on lockdown, including areas near the U.S. and French embassies and other diplomatic sites. Maj. Gen. Anton Charilyan, a spokesman for Indonesia’s national police, said they think the plan was to attack people and follow it up with a larger explosion when more people gathered.
Charilyan said the attackers had been identified and that they were allied to the Islamic State, possibly linked to an Indonesian faction that has sent volunteers to fight in Syria. ISIS itself claimed responsibility for the attack in an official statement posted on the group’s site. The post was translated by the monitoring group Flashpoint and verified by CNN.
Charilyan said that the attacks could possibly be linked to an Indonesian faction that has sent volunteers to fight in Syria. The Syrian civil war has been a source of inspiration for violent Islamists in Indonesia, and hundreds have traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State over the past several years.
“In the last six months, we’ve seen a spike of planning for violence in Indonesia,” said Sidney Jones, a terrorism expert and the director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta. “It’s a desire to prove that jihadi groups are still alive and well in Indonesia and are committed to carrying out the ISIS agenda.”
The post verifies one of the group’s deepest reached into Asia after spreading terror in North Africa and Europe.
After the attacks, Indonesians quickly reacted on social media, but instead of posting messages of fear, Indonesians tweeted defiant messages and words of strength. The hashtag #KamiTidakTakut, which translates to “we are not afraid,” began circling the media around the world. Others posted were done sharing the hashtag #PrayForJakarta.