Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Jakarta Police Chief Tito Karnavian provided further information at a press conference about this morning’s attack in central Jakarta, where a series of explosions and gun battles left seven people dead: five terrorists, and two civilians, a Canadian and an Indonesian.
General Karnavian said that the motive for today's attacks was an attempt by an ISIS-linked group in Indonesia to show other ISIS-linked groups in other countries in Southeast Asia that the Indonesia-based ISIS-linked group could carry out a bloody attack.
Karnavian said that the group is led by Bahrun Naim, who “wanted to establish a new ISIS chapter in Indonesia and become a major ISIS leader in Southeast Asia. We have some details about the group and Naim is now on the run".
According to the general, a former head of Indonesia’s anti-terror unit, the modus operandi of the terrorists is undergoing major changes. Rather than stay in Iraq and Syria, ISIS leaders (amr) want to expand the range of their operations to Paris, in North Africa, Singapore, Thailand and European countries.
As part of this, Naim planned attacks to gain the attention of "Caliph" al-Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders in South Asia. His ambitions led to today’s operation, which included suicide bombings and armed attacks against police and foreigners in Jakarta’s trendy Thamrin Boulevard.
The site is 200 metres from the French Embassy and the UN office. The Japanese, British and German embassies are not far. The US Embassy is about a kilometre from the scene of the attack.
The seven people who died include two terrorists who blew themselves up, three terrorists killed by police, and two civilians, a Canadian and an Indonesian, caught in the crossfire.
Fifteen other people were wounded, including a traffic officer whose booth was first hit by a homemade explosive device.
Visiting the crime scene, Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan said that police and soldiers did a good job in securing the area in just a few hours. He slammed reports that the terrorists easily knocked off balance the security forces.
Panjaitan, a former general who set up the army’s anti-terror special force, also said that the police and the intelligence service managed to foil several terrorist attacks at Christmas and New Year, and that today's attack was a little '"different than usual" because it occurred in broad daylight and in a very crowded area.
In a video on YouTube, two terrorists are seen hiding behind a vehicle before blowing themselves up. Two more come out into crowd and began to shoot at police officers before fleeing the scene.
After the explosion, the terrorists hid in a nearby building, until the police and soldiers found them and killed them.