Starbucks cafe in Indonesia's capital Jakarta reopens after attack by suicide bomber

The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.
The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.ST PHOTO: FRANCIS CHAN
The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.
The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.ST PHOTO: FRANCIS CHAN
The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.
The Starbucks cafe at the Menara Cakrawala building in Jakarta. It reopened at 10am local time on Feb 1, 2016, after an explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint on Jan 14, 2016.ST PHOTO: FRANCIS CHAN

JAKARTA - The Starbucks cafe in the Menara Cakrawala building, where a suicide bomber ignited the first blast that sparked the Jan 14 attacks in downtown Jakarta, is back in business.

It reopened at 10am on Monday morning (Feb 1), just two weeks after the explosion from a homemade bomb ripped through the American coffee joint.

The parking lot outside the cafe was also the scene of a violent shootout between the police and two of the four attackers.

But gone were the wooden hoardings put up in the wake of the terror attack last month, which left a total of eight people dead, including the four militants who mounted the brazen attack.

Starbucks Indonesia tweeted on Monday afternoon: "Calling all coffee lovers in Jl Thamrin & nearby. We're open today! Pls come & have a sip!"

The company could not be reached for comment, but customers The Straits Times spoke to at the cafe say they are glad the cafe is open again, albeit with added security.

Two security officers were at the doors conducting bag checks - a new measure to protect customers and to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Mr Budi, who works at Sarinah mall just across the road from the cafe, said he refuses to allow the attack by the terrorists, who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, to change the way he lives.

"Coming here for coffee has been a habit of mine for a long time, there is nothing to be afraid, especially when there is now more security," he said.

The Indonesian police have responded swiftly since the siege on the busy intersection along Jalan M.H. Thamrin.

Officers at the scene managed to neutralise the terrorists within 11 minutes of the first bomb going off. Updates from the police following the attack indicated that there were at least six explosions that day.

After the suicide bomber ignited the first bomb outside Starbucks, another militant was killed when the homemade bomb he was carrying went off outside a police post nearby - killing two bystanders.

Investigators are still trying to determine if that was also a suicide attack. An off-duty cop gunned down one of the remaining terrorists as he was trying to set off a bomb, while the fourth died when a bomb he was carrying exploded, possibly prematurely.

At least 19 suspects have been rounded up by the police's counter-terrorism unit, Detachment 88 so far.

Correction: An earlier version of this report said that a Canadian customer of the cafe was killed in the blast. Starbucks, however, has clarified that there were no fatalities involving customers. This was confirmed by the authorities in Jakarta, according to a spokesman of the coffee chain.