Indonesia

'ISIS militant taught Solo attacker to build bombs'

The scene of the attack at the police station in Solo, Central Java, yesterday. The perpetrator, believed to be Nur Rohman, a 30-year-old local, detonated his bomb while on a motorcycle when police officers intercepted him before he could get near th
The scene of the attack at the police station in Solo, Central Java, yesterday. The perpetrator, believed to be Nur Rohman, a 30-year-old local, detonated his bomb while on a motorcycle when police officers intercepted him before he could get near the building.PHOTO: REUTERS

The suicide bomber who tried to attack a police station in the city of Solo in Central Java yesterday is believed to be Nur Rohman, a 30- year-old local from Sangkrah village in Solo.

National police chief Badrodin Haiti, who suggested earlier that the bomber could be Nur Rohman, said it would take two days for DNA testing to confirm his identity.

Preliminary reports indicate that the bomber used low-grade explosives in the homemade bomb, which like most improvised explosive devices (IEDs), contained ball bearings and screws.

According to a source close to the investigation who asked not to be named, Nur Rohman learned to build bombs from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian militant believed to have been fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group since early last year.

Bahrun remains in close contact with domestic terror cells and militants in Indonesia.

He is believed to have stayed in Sangkrah village before.

Nur Rohman was a member of a local terror cell led by an Indonesian militant named Arif Hidayatullah, alias Abu Musab.

Arif was arrested in a police raid on Dec 23 together with an Uighur named Ali, who also had plans to mount a suicide bombing.

Arif is now in a maximum-security facility in Kelapa Dua, not far from Jakarta.

He had testified that Nur Rohman was one of two men who had escaped the raid with a homemade bomb.

The source said Nur Rohman had received instructions on how to assemble an IED from Bahrun via a smartphone messaging application.

The latest suicide bombing follows the Jan 14 attack in Jakarta by four ISIS- linked militants.

It also comes a day after Malaysia confirmed that ISIS elements were behind last week's grenade blast at a nightspot in Selangor that injured eight people.

Security forces in Indonesia, where people will be celebrating the end of Ramadan today, have been on high alert in recent months.

About 1,200 troops have been deployed to beef up security at airports over the Idul Fitri holidays, after terrorists killed dozens at Istanbul Ataturk Airport last week.

President Joko Widodo, who was Solo mayor for seven years before he became governor of Jakarta in 2012, appealed for calm, saying the authorities have the situation under control. "An act of terror for any cause is a wrongful act. There is no tolerating such acts," he said.

•Additional reporting by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline ''ISIS militant taught Solo attacker to build bombs''. Print Edition | Subscribe