Indonesian police killed three suspected terrorists and arrested another yesterday during a raid outside Jakarta, foiling a plan for a Christmas suicide attack on police officers.
"The three killed terrorists resisted arrest during the raid by throwing a bomb and firing shots at police. The bomb didn't go off. Police also found a bigger bomb in the house," national police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, told reporters after the raid.
The plan for the suicide attack involved one of the suspects stabbing an officer at a police post around the time of the Christmas holidays. When other police officers gathered, another person carrying a bomb would set it off, he added.
Brigadier-General Rikwanto said the men were linked to a terror cell in Solo, Central Java, whose plan to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta was foiled earlier this month.
Yesterday's raid was conducted at a rented house in a residential area in South Tangerang, 25km outside Jakarta.
More than five bombs were found in the raid and later detonated.
The plot was disclosed by a member of the group who was arrested earlier yesterday and tipped off police about the three militants and their whereabouts, police said.
The three were identified only as Omen, Helmi and Irwan. The man arrested was identified as Adam.
Another police spokesman, Mr Awi Setiyono, said two of the suspected terrorists killed were members of militant group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which is led by terrorist convict Aman Abdurrahman.
Yesterday, police arrested three other terror suspects. A suspect named Abisya, who was arrested in Batam, is part of the Katibah Gonggong Rebus terror cell, whose plan to launch rockets at Singapore from the island was foiled in August.
A suspect known only as "S" was also arrested in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra. He is linked to the Batam arrest, police said without elaborating. A third suspected terrorist - identified as Hamzah - was arrested yesterday in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra.
Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, saw a series of deadly home-grown attacks during the 2000s - including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed more than 200 people. While a sustained crackdown has weakened many extremist networks, worries about a resurgence in militancy have grown in recent months.
Yesterday's raid in South Tangerang was the latest in a series of recent raids which police said involved bomb plots.
The Detachment 88 anti-terror squad had earlier arrested at least 14 members of the Solo cell, which police said was set up by Indonesian militant Bahrun Naim, who is in the Middle East fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group.
Among the members of the group arrested so far are three women, including Dian Yulia Novi, who had worked as a maid in Singapore and Taiwan. Dian, 27, had hidden a home-made "rice cooker" bomb in her rented room in Bekasi, West Java, where she was arrested.
In January, a gun and bomb assault in the heart of Jakarta killed four people and was the first attack in South-east Asia claimed by ISIS.
The anti-terror squad has been stepping up raids ahead of year- end festivities. As in previous years, the police will deploy reinforcements at strategic locations, usually near churches, ahead of Christmas Eve.