Teenage attacker of Medan church is obsessed with ISIS leader: Minister

 Indonesian mobile brigade policemen stand guard after an attempted suicide bombing by an unidentified man at St Yoseph Catholic Church in Medan, Indonesia on Aug 28, 2016.
Indonesian mobile brigade policemen stand guard after an attempted suicide bombing by an unidentified man at St Yoseph Catholic Church in Medan, Indonesia on Aug 28, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - A knife-wielding Indonesian teen who tried to attack a priest at a church during a Sunday service was "obsessed" with the extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a senior minister said on Monday (Aug 29).

The Indonesian authorities are increasingly worried about a resurgence in radicalism in the world's largest Muslim-majority country, driven in part by a new generation of militants inspired by ISIS.

"From the cellphone that was seized by security forces, this youth was obsessed with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Chief Security Minister Wiranto told reporters, referring to the leader of the Middle Eastern militant group.

General Wiranto, who goes by one name, said a note was found in the attacker's backpack that said "I love al-Baghdadi" but added the suspect had no known links to existing militant networks.

There were no serious casualties in the latest attempted attack, which happened in a church in Medan, northern Sumatra.

Police said the attacker had attempted to stab the priest, who suffered minor injuries, and detonate a crude home-made bomb but failed after being restrained by other worshippers.

 

The suspect, identified as 17-year-old Ivan Armadi, is under interrogation. Police seized bomb-making materials from his home after the attack and said he had learned to assemble a bomb through online research.

Counter-terrorism officials have said there are hundreds of ISIS sympathisers in Indonesia, where the vast majority of Muslims practise a moderate form of the religion.

The country suffered its first ISIS-linked attack in January, when four people died in a gun and bomb assault.