Militants targeted in Indonesia raid had planned to attack police post in Tangerang

Indonesian anti-terror policemen stand guard during an anti-terrorism raid operation in Tangerang, Indonesia, on Dec 21. Indonesian police reportedly killed three suspects and found several bombs during a raid in Tangerang, on the outskirt of Jakarta
Indonesian anti-terror policemen stand guard during an anti-terrorism raid operation in Tangerang, Indonesia, on Dec 21. Indonesian police reportedly killed three suspects and found several bombs during a raid in Tangerang, on the outskirt of Jakarta.PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA - The militants targeted in a raid outside Jakarta on Wednesday (Dec 21) had planned to attack a police post in Serpong, South Tangerang, located at a busy intersection near a hypermart and a popular shopping mall.

The police post is about 30 minutes' drive from the militants' rented house and is across the road from a Giant hypermarket and near the Aeon Mall BSD City, Metro TV reported.

Police spokesman Colonel Martinus Sitompul confirmed this location with The Straits Times in a text message.

Police seized six packets, each containing two bombs, from a house they raided in South Tangerang - 25 km outside Central Jakarta - where three terrorists were shot dead and a fourth arrested, Colonel Martinus told a media briefing on Thursday.

An officer with the police Detachment 88 anti-terror squad told The Straits Times that the bombs had been assembled in a different fashion from the ones police had usually dealt with, requiring their bomb squad personnel to spend more time to safely detonate them.

"Many parts were attached to each other, and these needed to be detached one by one. Casings were made out of steel, but instead of straight steel pipes, these were bent. Several short pipes being attached to each other to form one curved pipe," the officer said on condition of anonymity.

Police said on Wednesday the attack was to have been carried out on Christmas Eve when more police officers would be deployed in cities across Indonesia.

National police chief General Tito Karnavian said separately that one of the terrorists had planned to stab an officer at the police post so that other officers and onlookers would gather around the victim. That's when two suicide bombers would strike, creating maximum casualties.

"This is based on testimonies from an arrested terrorist, Adam. They wanted to repeat the Tangerang police post incident," Gen Tito said on Thursday morning.

On Oct 20, a militant believed to be affiliated with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) wounded police officers with a knife at a police post in Tangerang. The attacker was shot and wounded by police. An unexploded pipe bomb and an ISIS sticker were found near the scene.

The militant named Adam had tipped off the police on the whereabouts of his three accomplices. All three were killed during a gunfight with the police on Wednesday. They were identified only as Omen, Helmi and Irwan.

The three were linked to a terror cell in Solo, Central Java, whose plan to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta was foiled earlier this month.

They were also planning to attack other targets, according to the Detachment 88 officer who declined to be named.

"In August we picked up their conversation. They contemplated attacking the US embassy but later we didn't know what happened to that plan. We hope we can get information from Adam."