Indonesia beefs up security after foiled Christmas plot

Indonesian officers lining up during a drill at the National Monument in Jakarta on Dec 22, 2016.
Indonesian officers lining up during a drill at the National Monument in Jakarta on Dec 22, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian police on Thursday (Dec 22) announced plans to deploy some 155,000 personnel to secure the country during Christmas and New Year holidays, a day after police foiled plans for militant attacks.

Police on Wednesday foiled plans by an ISIS-linked group for a Christmas-time suicide bombing after they discovered a cache of bombs in a house on the outskirts of Jakarta,killing three suspected militants in the process.

Following the raids, national police chief Tito Karnavian said security would be boosted at churches, entertainment venues and public gatherings during the Christmas and New Year celebrations across the sprawling archipelago.

"Police will beef up security after these (raids)", intensifying intelligence-gathering efforts and the monitoring of social media, national police spokesman Martinus Sitompul told AFP.

Deployment of large security personnel at year-end celebrations is an annual exercise for police in the world's most populous Muslim country.

The militants who were killed Wednesday had planned to stab an officer at a police station and launch a suicide bomb attack around the Christmas holidays, police said.

Four other suspected militants were also arrested in separate raids on Java and Sumatra on the same day.

Wednesday's raids came less than two weeks after police arrested four Muslim militants including a female suicide bomber in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta. They were plotting to bomb one of the guard posts at the presidential palace.

Indonesia suffered a string of deadly homegrown attacks during the 2000s - including the 2002 Bali bombings which killed over 200 people.

A sustained crackdown has weakened many of the most dangerous extremist networks but there have been fears of a resurgence in militancy.