In the aftermath of the Jakarta attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, which left five dead on the ground among the bombers and civilian casualties (a local citizen and a Canadian), the Indonesian police has been able to identify some of the terrorists that were killed and performed the first arrests, around the capital and in other regions of the country.
The attack started on Thursday morning at 10.40 local time, with a series of six explosions in quick succession, in a commercial area of the Indonesian capital. Two attackers opened fire on customers of a Starbucks coffee shop hit by one of the explosions, while two suicide bombers blew themselves up near a road junction where several policemen were stationating. The police responded quickly surroundig the area and attacking the jihadists with the help of cars and armored vehicles. The shooting lasted for several hours, until the three terrorists, after being holed up in a movie theater, were killed by the police.
The attack was claimed by ISIS with a statement online. According to local police, the attacks were organized and directed by Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian jihadist fighting with the ISIS in Syria that aims to become the leader of the organization in the Southeast Asia.
General Badrodin Haiti, the national police chief, said that two of the bombers were convicted and jailed in the past for activities linked to radical Islamism and has released the name of one of the two, Afif Sunakim, which had previously granted a sentence of seven years. The head of the Jakarta Police, Inspector General Tito Karnavian, then revealed that in the capital were ongoing counterterrorism operations to capture the members of some cells ready to go into action.
In his claim, ISIS explained that the purpose of the attacks was hit Indonesia for its support to the international coalition fighting Daesh in Syria and Iraq. According to the Indonesian police, the group that organized the attacks is connected with other cells operating in the country, in Java and Sulawesi. Naim, specifically, would be connected to MIT, a jihadist group active Indonesian island of Sulawesi that declares to be ally of the Islamic State. Since 2002, the year of a bloody attack in Bali which killed 202 people, Indonesia has always kept his guard high, arresting a total of over a thousand people in the context of counter-terrorism operations. Some jihadists, however, have been released over the years, and the attacks on Thursday, said the police chief, demonstrate how they can still pose a real danger.
According to the head of the national police Haiti, the last attack represent a quantum leap in the confrontation between security forces and Islamic extremism. The fact that a direct link between ISIS and local groups has emerged is a worrying and and major change. Investigators also believe that the action was organized and funded directlyfrom Syria, through Bahrun Naim.
Even the president of Indonesia Joko Widodo made its voice heard, after the attacks, with a tweet: “There is no place for terrorism on Earth – he wrote – and every citizen in the world” needed to fight it.