Indonesia Terror: Isis deadly Jakarta bomb blasts and gunfire in Indonesia

January 14, 2016 4:54 pm

Indonesian police take position behind a vehicle as they pursue suspects. AFP PHOTO / Bay ISMOYO / AFP / BAY ISMOYO• Bomb blasts and gunfire rock central Jakarta, Indonesia
• Multiple 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
7.40pm: Jakarta police spokesman Col. Muhammad Iqbal says seven people including four attackers have been killed in the brazen attacks in the downtown capital.
He says police have recovered the bodies of the attackers, but it is not clear if more remain at large.
7.30pm: Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says in a statement on national TV the situation is under control and is calling on people to remain calm.
Jokowi says: “The state, nation and people should not be afraid of, and lose to, such terror acts.”
He spoke after suspected Islamic militants detonated bombs and opened fire at police in downtown Jakarta, killing at least one policeman. An Associated Press photographer saw three more bodies lying in a sidewalk.

7.15pm: At least six people have been killed in the blasts, including three police and three civilians, Sky News reported.
7.10pm: New Zealand ex-pat Cameron Bates said the blasts happened just 2km or 3km from his apartment block.

“I work from home, I’m on the 25th floor of an apartment tower 2km or 3km away from it, I didn’t hear anything,” he said.
“But I work in social media so it pretty quickly came to our attention that something was happening.
“A friend of mine has an office over-looking the scene of the attack and he was posting photos of what he was seeing, including the deceased. “
There was some indication the bodies may have been those of suicide bombers, he said.
“It’s unclear. There was definitely no police officers that I could see from the images, but you couldn’t see the inside of the police post.”
The attack took place outside a police post – a kiosk station for traffic police – on one of Jakarta’s most popular streets, he said.

“The significance of the site is pretty important, one of the main drags. [Jalan Thamrin] connects the national monument with the centre of Jakarta and it’s outside Sarinah Mall which was Indonesia’s first shopping mall, and it’s near the United Nations building,” he said.
“It’s not far from an area which is popular with backpacking tourists – Jalan Jaksa, which anyone who’s passed through Indonesia would have stayed at.”
The street “would have been packed”, he said.
“It’s a very busy city – up to 12 million people during the day.”
Mr Bates said he was still in a “bit of shock”, and had collected his 7-year-old son from school early.
“We’re kind of really unsure of what is happening at the moment,” he said.
“I’ve seen images of four bodies lying around dead … then there were reports of ongoing shootings, possibly targeting a Starbucks in the mall below. That hasn’t been confirmed.
“And now there are reports of further explosions around the city, at least four others.
Again not believed to be massive detonations, perhaps suicide bombing attacks, including one on a 5* hotel popular with Westerners.
“It’s a bit of a state of confusion.”
Mr Bates has lived in Jakarta for 15 years, and said today’s explosion was the fourth bombing he had experienced in that time.
“The others were a bit closer, and larger and more visible,” said.
There were “significant numbers” of Indonesians who had travelled to the Middle East attracted by Isis, Mr Bates said, according to local reports.
“I was just talking about this to an acquaintance a couple of days ago, I told him, ‘we are going to get attacks from these sorts of people returning back from the Middle East’, and it’s going to move away from the old [terrorist] attacks of big bombs, to more sort of focussed, small suicide bombings or targeted shootings,” he said.
“I can’t speak because I don’t know how many attacks there have been, but it would appear to have been of a coordinated style, that we feared.”
There was a lot of confusion, Mr Bates said.
“No-one knows what’s going on.”
He added: “There are reports of seven attacks, all based around the central city – Palmerah, South Jakarta. South Jakarta is very popular with ex-patriots particularly the oil and gas industry, it’s more of an upmarket suburb.
“There’s reports of it being very much a coordinated attack, still reports that some of the terrorists may be holed up inside the Jakarta Theatre, which is a cinema inside the Sarinah building. Reports of other terrorists involved in that attack escaping on motorcycle, through the central city.
“It’s fair to say it’s very confusing, very concerning for ex-patriots.”
His son was ok, he said, and had “no idea” about what had happened.
7.05pm: The Guardian says police are still looking for gunmen believed to be held up in the Cakrawala building on Jalan Thamrin St – the site of the Starbucks cafe and UN headquarters.
The Jakarta Post reports that police were also seen entering the McDonald’s restaurant at the Sarinah building, with gunshots still ringing out in the area.

7pm: People in Jakarta are reported to be tweeting the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut – which translates as “we are not afraid”.
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 Ibrahim6.50pm: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s regional representative Jeremy Douglas spoke to Newstalk ZB’s Rachel Smalley on the phone from his office just around the corner from where the blasts took place.
He described hearing the explosions that happened some 150 metres around the corner from the UN’s Jakarta offices.
“We received a call that a bomb had gone off near the building…as soon as we got out of the car another one went off and then we heard a third, a fourth, a fifth and a sixth over about five minutes.”
Then Mr Douglas said a torrent of gun fire was released.
Smoke billows from an explosion in Jakarta. Photo / Christian Hubel via AP Smoke billows from an explosion in Jakarta. Photo / Christian Hubel via APHe said people were just a little “stunned” initially, but as the subsequent blasts went off they realised something big was happening.
“As soon as they started hearing the third the fourth and the fifth everyone started feeling a little freaked out.”
Following the blasts Mr Douglas said a lot of information was being passed around, but what he understood from colleagues talking to police that it was a suicide bomber.
Video grab from World Aggregate News showing the bomb blast. Photo / https://twitter.com/WAGGNews Video grab from World Aggregate News showing the bomb blast. Photo / https://twitter.com/WAGGNews”But it’s a little unclear,” Mr Douglas said. “I don’t have a direct line of view to the site and there’s a lot of information flying around.
He said after the initial flurry of activity, things had calmed down a little, with tactical teams on site.
Mr Douglas remained in lockdown inside the Jakarta office.
He described the area of the blasts as being right in the middle of downtown Jakarta, with lots of big hotels, embassies, the UN and a lot of Western brands.
“It’s right smack bang in the middle of Jakarta”.
Mr Douglas, who was usually based in Bangkok, said he’d flown into the country to talk to the Government about counter-terrorism issues.
6.40pm:

6.35pm: Staff at Chili’s Grill & Bar, inside the Sarinah Mall, were in lockdown, and one staff member told NZME he saw a dead person, one “terrorist” in the road, and police shooting at the assailants.
“At this moment the police are still searching in the building, across our building. I have no idea. They think maybe that still some of the fugitives or terrorists … at this moment we’re just holding on in the Sarinah building.”
The staff member, Joseph, said about thirty staff were together.
He said the horror started about 10.30am, half an hour before the business was due to open.
Joseph said he heard two blasts.
“Then after that we saw three people going down the street, and then the crowd coming up, and then another blast comes up, and after that, the crowd breaking up because of the sound of the gunfire, and then after that we saw the police shooting at someone … after that all the crowds disappear.”
Joseph said he believed he saw one “terrorist” and at least one victim.
“The victim, they are already dead already…”
He was upset after witnessing the incident, saying it “was the first time” for him to see such horror.
“The building security already locked the building, the entrances, the exits.”
Joseph had to terminate the call shortly before 12.15 local time, with police asking staff to open the business.
“Police are in front of our restaurant.”
Minutes earlier, another staffer said “nothing’s happened before” and the incident was unprecedented.
He said he’d been working at Chili’s two years. He said staff were watching the TV to keep up to speed with the situation.
Asked if he was safe, he said he wasn’t sure.

6.30pm: ABC reporter Adam Harvey tweeted police were saying the Jakarta attacks were Islamic State related.

Six blasts have been heard, at least one of which was a bomb, according to a police spokesman. The others were thought to be grenade blasts.
6.20pm: There has been another blast in central Jakarta, ABC reporter Samantha Hawley said on Twitter.
She said the United Nations building in Jakarta was in lockdown, with one worker feared dead.Indonesian police said they had received an Islamic State warning in Decemeber, she said on Twitter.
Reuters reporter Rahul Biddappa said on Twitter said police in Indonesia say three police and three civilians had died.

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Around 10-14 gunmen were involved in the central Jakarta attack, he said.
6.10pm: Indonesian network TVOne says at least three more explosions have taken place in Jakarta.
It says the explosions occurred in Cikni, Silpi and Kuningan neighborhoods, near the Turkish and Pakistani embassies.
It did not say if there were any casualties in the blasts that occurred after three explosions took place in downtown Jakarta earlier.

6pm: Witnesses are reporting three suicide bomb explosions took place at a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta.
A bank security guard says he saw at least five attackers, including three suicide bombers who exploded themselves in a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta.
Tri Seranto tells The Associated Press he was out on the street when he saw the three men entering Starbucks and saw them blowing themselves up one by one. He says the other two attackers, carrying handguns, entered a police post from where he heard gunfire. He said he later saw one policeman dead and three seriously injured.
He says he was not injured in the explosions as he was a little distance away, but close enough to witness the attack.
He says the two gunmen ran away with police chasing them.
5.45pm: A U.N. regional representative in Jakarta, Jeremy Douglas, is tweeting that a massive explosion in front of the U.N. office in the Indonesian capital has been followed by at six other blasts and gunfire.
He says police and broadcasting announcements for people to stay away from windows.
The explosion took place in front of the Sarinah shopping mall in an area that also has many luxury hotels, embassies and offices.

Earlier

A massive explosion rocked downtown Jakarta in front of a popular shopping mall on and an Associated Press reporter saw at least one dead body.
Gunshots were heard after the midmorning explosion in front of the Sarinah shopping mall and a police station. The area also has many luxury hotels, and offices and embassies, including the French.
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/TwitterIt was not clear who was shooting but police had cordoned off the area, preventing reporters from going near the scene.
Witnesses said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber, but there was no immediate confirmation of the claim.

Indonesia has been a victim of several bombing attacks in the past, claimed by Islamic militant groups.
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, the site of Indonesia’s deadliest terror attack, which killed 202 people in 2002.
National Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Anton Charliyan said security is focused on anticipating attacks in vulnerable regions, including Jakarta.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.

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