JAKARTA – Indonesian counterterrorism police shot and killed three suspected militants, including two would-be suicide bombers, and arrested four others during several raids on Wednesday, foiling yearend terror plots.
National Police spokesman Rikwanto told a press conference that the first raid took place at 9:45 a.m. at a rented house in South Tangerang in the suburbs of Jakarta, based on information from a suspected Muslim militant who had been arrested shortly before.
“We shot three suspects dead in the house because they opened fire on us and threw bombs,” he said.
Another National Police spokesman, Gen. Tito Karnavian, said “at least three homemade, low-explosive bombs” were found in the house, promoting an evacuation of the area.
“The bomb squad is still searching for other bombs,” Tito said, adding that the devices found were made of potassium nitrate, while backpacks and firearms were also found.
Of the three suspects killed, Tito said that “at least two of them were would-be suicide bombers.”
According to Rikwanto, the four planned to attack a police box near Eka Hospital in South Tangerang and stab police officers inside.
A third spokesman, Awi Setiyono, said that the group planned to then detonate suicide bombs when people came to the location to see what was happening.
As for the background of the suspects killed, Awi said the first, identified only as Omen, was a former convict in a murder case who was recruited in jail by convicted terrorist Achmad Taufik, who is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-year jail term for plotting to bomb the Myanmar Embassy in 2013.
The other two — a driver for a mineral water company and a porridge vendor — “were jihadis from the Islamic State-linked Jamaah Ansharut Daulah,” he said.
Rikwanto said that police are still investigating as to which group the suspects belong, but suspect they might be linked to a network of 14 terror suspects, including two female suicide bombers, who had been arrested in a series of raids during the past two weeks.
The 14 suspects, who were arrested in several cities in Jakarta, West Java Province and Central Java Province, allegedly had links to the network of Islamic State supporter Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian now based in Syria.
They allegedly planned to carry out two suicide bombings during the ceremonial changing of guards at the presidential palace on Dec. 11 and in an unidentified place outside Java Island.
In another development, the National Police announced that as of Wednesday afternoon, three suspects had also been separately arrested in Payakumbuh in West Sumatra Province, in Deli Serdang in North Sumatra Province and in the city of Batam on Batam Island, near Singapore.
“They were members of the (Khatibah Gonggong Rebus) cell on Batam Island,” Tito said, referring to a group, five members of which were arrested in August for planning to launch a rocket from Batam to Marina Bay Sands, a luxury resort in Singapore’s Downtown Core area.
The terror suspect arrested in Batam facilitated two Uyghur militants’ entry into Indonesia. The Uyghurs were members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, a separatist group active in China’s western Xinjiang region.
He also managed a travel agency owned by one of Bahrun Naim’s wives to send Indonesian fighters and their families to Syria.