Three dead confirmed in Jakarta double bombing

Wednesday's blasts in Jakarta appear to have targeted policemen [Reuters]
Wednesday’s blasts in Jakarta appear to have targeted policemen [Reuters]
Suspected suicide bombers killed three Indonesian police officers and wounded 10 people in twin blasts near a bus station in the eastern part of the capital.

The explosions went off minutes apart on Wednesday night at Jakarta’s Kampung Melayu terminal, police said.

“Initially I heard a loud bang I thought it was burst tyre. I saw many people gathered and taking pictures with their mobile phones. I approached them to find out what happened and I saw a severed arm on the street,” said fruit seller Ardi Maulana.

Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said three officers were killed and 10 people wounded and are receiving medical care. Five were police and five were civilians.

“There were two blasts at around 9pm, close to each other, there are three victims,” Andry Wibowo, East Jakarta police chief, told TV station MetroTV.

“From the damage I can see the explosions were pretty big.”

Another witness, Sultan Muhammad Firdaus, told local television station Kompas TV he had heard two explosions.

“I was on a flyover and then I heard the first explosion,” he said. “There was a 10-minute gap between the two explosions.

Indonesia has long been fighting armed groups but in recent years hundreds have flocked to fight for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and Iraq.

In 2016, a gun-and-suicide attack in Jakarta left four attackers and four civilians dead in the first assault claimed by ISIL, also known as ISIS, in Southeast Asia.

“This is the biggest attack in the capital since last year,” Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen said, reporting from Jakarta. “Police say they were on high alert after the attack in Manchester and they were expecting something. They only didn’t know what was going to happen and where.”

Authorities in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation are increasingly worried about a surge in “radicalism”, driven in part by a new generation of fighters inspired by ISIL.

While most of the attacks have been poorly organised, authorities believe about 400 Indonesians have gone to join the group in Syria, and could pose a more lethal threat if they come home.

Indonesia has suffered a series of attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A sustained crackdown weakened the most dangerous networks, but the emergence of ISIL has proved a potent new rallying cry for armed groups.—Source: aljazeera.com

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