Indonesia terror: Brazen attacks in Jakarta leave 7 dead

January 14, 2016 5:04 pm

Police officers take their position near the site where an explosion went off in Jakarta. Photo: AP• Bomb blasts and gunfire rock central Jakarta, Indonesia
• Several explosions have been heard
• At least seven reported dead – Isis to blame, say officials
• Police suspect a suicide bomber is responsible for at least one blast
• Witnesses are reporting three suicide bomb explosions took place at a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta
• There are reports of ongoing gun battles in the street
• There have been no arrests yet

Attackers set off explosions at a Starbucks cafe in a bustling shopping area of downtown Jakarta and waged gun-battles with police, leaving bodies in the streets as office workers watched in terror from high-rise windows.
There were unconfirmed media reports of explosions in other parts of Jakarta.

Video grab from World Aggregate News showing the bomb blast. Photo / https://twitter.com/WAGGNews Video grab from World Aggregate showing the bomb blast. Photo / https://twitter.com/WAGGNews

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) spokesman said the ministry was aware of the bomb explosion in central Jakarta.
There were currently 76 New Zealanders registered as being in Jakarta, the spokesman said.
Where the explosions took place. Where the explosions took place.”The Embassy in Jakarta is in contact with the Indonesian authorities,” he said in the statement.

Mfat’s current travel advice for Indonesia advises caution due to the ongoing threat of terrorism (some risk) and recommends New Zealanders maintain a high level of security awareness at all times.
No one is answering the phone at the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta, where the time is six hours behind Auckland.
Smoke billows from an explosion in Jakarta. Photo / Christian Hubel via AP Smoke billows from an explosion in Jakarta. Photo / Christian Hubel via APIt was the first major violence in Indonesia’s capital since the 2009 bombings of two hotels that killed seven people and injured more than 50. Before that, a bombing in a nightclub on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place in front of the Sarinah shopping mall on Thamrin Street that prompted a security lockdown in central Jakarta and enhanced checks all over the crowded city of 10 million.
http://www.jokpeme.com/2016/01/indonesia-terror-brazen-attacks-in.html “This act is clearly aimed at disturbing public order and spreading terror among people,” President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, said in statement on television. Jokowi, who is on a working visit in West Java town of Cirebon, said he is returning to Jakarta immediately.
“The state, the nation and the people should not be afraid of, and lose to, such terror acts,” he said.
With schools and businesses in lockdown across the city, parents and children were separated as the afternoon advanced, said Carmel Gleeson, Australia and New Zealand Association (ANZA) Jakarta president.
“The parents are stuck in their buildings. The kids are stuck in their school.”
Indonesia police near one of the bomb locations in Jakarta. AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim Indonesia police near one of the bomb locations in Jakarta. AP Photo/Achmad IbrahimMrs Gleeson understood around 14 terrorists were at large across the city, moving about on motorcycles and randomly shooting at people, most likely foreigners.
She understood Americans were targets.
“Unfortunately we all look American.”
Mrs Gleeson understood at least one fair-haired “Bule” or Westerner had already been killed in the attacks.
“There’s a picture of one guy that looks so Australian or Kiwi — there’s at least one dead. Hopefully we find out soon if it’s one of us.
“Not everyone’s going to be happy at the end of the day.”
Mrs Gleeson said the ANZA compound in Kemang was only 6km from where most of the deadly attacks happened.
“It’s not that far really. They can easily come.”
A gun battle between police and unknown persons near a blast site in Jakarta. Photo: @NitiCentral/Twitter A gun battle between police and unknown persons near a blast site in Jakarta. Photo: @NitiCentral/TwitterShe said ANZA was trying to make contact with the New Zealand and Australian embassies, but both were in “panic mode”, especially the Australians.

Mrs Gleeson said a history of sporadic terrorist attacks against Australian targets in Indonesia had exacerbated tension this afternoon.
She said “a lot of foreigners” including UN workers would have been in the Sarinah Mall and its surrounds when the attack happened.
Kompas TV reports on the explosions. Photo: KOMPAS TV/YouTube Kompas TV reports on the explosions. Photo: KOMPAS TV/YouTubeMrs Gleeson said Jakarta, where she’d lived for two years, was usually a safe and friendly place for foreigners, and locals would suffer in the aftermath of the attacks.
“I’m Australian. I [usually] feel safer here than I do in Melbourne.”
She said the attackers would not bully her into leaving the city she loved.
“I haven’t got kids so for me I probably will stay here.”
But she added: “I’d say a lot of people will leave if it turns out to be bad.”
Smoke rises from a bomb blast site in Jakarta. Photo: Press TV/Twitter Smoke rises from a bomb blast site in Jakarta. Photo: Press TV/TwitterShe said there were about 240 ANZA members in Jakarta with three full-time local staff and about 100 expatriate volunteers.
Mrs Gleeson said Jakarta would have been busy today but now certain roads in the city were closed.
She said the Indonesian state was responding with a show of force.
“Put it this way — we’ve just seen all the big military machinery rolling in at the moment,” she said. “They’ll be trying to show that they can be strong but they’re not really.”
She said the military and police weren’t very well-funded.
Mrs Gleeson said most Indonesians followed the Koran closely, but weren’t fanatics.
“They’re strict in the rules of the Koran, they don’t eat pig, but as far as their lives, they’re very easygoing,” she said. “I have never ever seen a radical, except for one night, and my driver told me to get down.”
She said most locals and expatriates weren’t armed.
“Every time you go into a shopping centre or anything, your bags are checked. You wouldn’t be able to carry a gun.”
Tri Seranto, a bank security guard, told The Associated Press he saw at least five attackers, including three who triggered explosions at the Starbucks. It was not immediately clear if they exploded bombs or grenades.

Tri described them as suicide bombers but Gen. Anton Charilyan, a spokesman for the national police, denied they blew themselves up.
He said the attack involved an unknown number of assailants with grenades and guns, at least one on a motorcycle. He said three civilians were killed. Later, Jakarta police spokesman Col. Muhammad Iqbal said four of the attackers were killed, and their bodies retrieved.
Tri said he was out on the street when he saw the three men entering Starbucks. He said the other two attackers, carrying handguns, entered a police post from where he heard gunfire.
TVOne, a local television network, reported three other explosions in other parts of the city.
After the first explosions a gun-battle broke out between the attackers and anti-terror police squads, and gunfire could be heard more than 1 ½ hours later.
About two hours later, another explosion was heard from a cafe near the Starbucks, about five minutes after 25 anti-terror policemen entered it. It was not clear if the explosion was a controlled detonation or a bomb.
The area has many luxury hotels, and offices and embassies, including the French. The other set of explosions were in neighborhoods where the embassies of Turkey and Pakistan are located.
Tweets from the account of Jeremy Douglas, regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Southeast and the Pacific, described a bomb and “serious” exchanges of gunfire on the street outside his Jakarta office. “Didn’t experience this in 3.5 years in #Pakistan,” he wrote.
“A massive #bomb went off in front of our new #Indonesia office as @collie-brown & I exit car. Chaos & we’re going into lock-down,” he wrote. And three minutes later: “Apparent #suicidebomber literally 100m from the office and my hotel. Now gunfire.”
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has been a victim of several bombing attacks in the past, claimed by Islamic militant groups.
Last month, anti-terror police arrested nine men and said the group had wanted to “perform a ‘concert’ to attract international news coverage of their existence here.” Police cited a document seized from the group that described the planned attacks as a “concert.”
The country has been on high alert after authorities said they had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to attack government officials, foreigners and others. About 150,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed during New Year’s Eve to guard churches, airports and other public places.
More than 9,000 police were also deployed in Bali.
On Tuesday, the jailed radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir appealed to an Indonesia court to have his conviction for funding a terror training camp overturned, arguing that his support for the camp was an act of worship.
The 77-year-old leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network filed a judicial review of his 2011 conviction, when he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for setting up the camp in Aceh province. A higher court later cut the sentence to nine years.
Indonesia has suffered a spate of deadly attacks by the Jemaah Islamiyah network in the past. But strikes in recent years have been smaller and less deadly, and have targeted government authorities, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces.

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