10/11/2019, 13.43
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The Islamic State group behind the attack on Minister Wiranto

by Mathias Hariyadi

The stabbing marks the first IS attack against an Indonesian government official. A married couple carried out the attack. The 72-year-old general suffered two deep wounds to the abdomen but is in stable conditions. For the country’s intelligence services, Islamists plan to strike during the president's upcoming inauguration ceremony.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A terrorist group linked to the Islamic State (IS) group is behind yesterday’s stabbing attack against Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs General Wiranto, who survived.

A married couple , 31-year-old Syahril Alamsyah, aka Abu Rara, a native of Medan, and his 21-year-old wife, Fitri Andriana, born in Brebes (Central Java province), were taken into custody in connection with the attack.

Abu Rara stabbed Wiranto (pictured) after he got out of his car following a ceremony at the Mathla'ul Anwar Islamic Boarding School in Pandeglang (West Java). His wife failed to hit Wiranto thanks to swift action by the minister’s security detail.

The minister, 72, was on his way to a heliport to return to Jakarta. He suffered two deep wounds to the abdomen but remained conscious. He received first aid at a local hospital, before being moved to the Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Jakarta where he underwent an operation in the night. At present, he is in stable conditions.

Three other people – the local police chief and two aides – were slightly injured during the attack.

Abu Rara was arrested by security personnel at the scene. Police found knives and a pair of scissors on him and his wife.

Within hours, the authorities uncovered the couple's affiliation with a cell of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) based in Bekasi (20 kilometres east of Jakarta), General Budi Gunawan, head of Indonesia’s main intelligence agency, the BIN[*], said at a press conferene.

General Gunawan added that the secret services had been following Abu Rara's movements for about three months. He and his wife had ties with five individuals from Bekasi, arrested recently for planning a bomb attack.

The BIN chief explained that JAD is planning to attack the inauguration ceremony of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who is in his second mandate, and Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, on 20 October.

"They want to carry out suicide attacks against the crowd that will take part in protest demonstrations," the general said.

Wiranto's stabbing marks IS's first attack on an Indonesian government official. Last night, Widodo ordered investigators to act firmly and investigate the incident.

The president called on Indonesians to fight radicalism and terrorism together, since only "unitary efforts" can defeat the problem. He also said that he might ask the police to boost the security of all senior government officials.

Last May, authorities discovered that Wiranto was one of the targets in a plan to assassinate top security officials led by former General Kivlan Zen, a political ally of Prabowo Subianto, a defeated candidate in the last presidential election.

The plot came to light the day after unrest devastated Jakarta on 21 and 22 May. The violence followed the release of election results, which confirmed Prabowo’s defeat and the president’s re-election.

[*] Badan Intelijen Negara or State Intelligence Agency.

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