Three terrorists were killed and one escaped following an anti-terror police raid in Yogyakarta as Indonesia intensified its crackdown on militant activities.
In the dramatic Saturday afternoon raid in Central Java, police were tailing four terrorists riding two motorcycles when two of the men attacked a police officer with machetes.
Three of the men were subsequently gunned down. The fourth fled towards a densely populated residential area.
"They posed a danger to the officers and the people at the scene. We had no choice but to take firm, measured actions that inevitably led to the death of three of the terrorists," national police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal told reporters.
The operation followed the arrest on Wednesday of two of the terrorists' accomplices in the suburbs of Yogyakarta.
In a separate incident yesterday, a man and his wife attacked the Indramayu police headquarters in West Java at about 2.30am. They rode their motorcycle into the police headquarters, before tossing a cooking pot containing an explosive towards the police.
But the bomb did not go off, said a police spokesman. The couple were arrested later.
DANGER TO POLICE
They posed a danger to the officers and the people at the scene. We had no choice but to take firm, measured actions that inevitably led to the death of three of the terrorists.
NATIONAL POLICE SPOKESMAN MUHAMMAD IQBAL
Indonesia has been fighting a surge in radicalisation, which has been spread via Islamic boarding schools and mosques that have been taken over by clerics who adopt a militant ideology.
The militant networks have been targeting the underprivileged with promises of a happy afterlife as a way out of their daily struggles. While some have formed sleeper cells, others have been actively involved in acts of terrorism, observers said.
"The Brimob (police mobile brigade) headquarters' incident in May has woken up these sleeper cells. Those who had contemplated an attack were prompted to accelerate their plan," Mr Adhe Bhakti, a deradicalisation expert and security consultant, told The Straits Times. "Among the appeals circulated within their networks were: attack them as they attack us."
In May, five police officers and an inmate were killed in a stand-off involving more than 150 inmates at the Brimob detention centre, just 25km from the city centre of Jakarta. The facility housed a number of Islamist militants jailed on terror-related charges.
The rioting inmates, supporters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, held police officers hostage during the 36-hour siege, torturing and killing five of them. The stand-off started on the night of May 8 and ended only in the morning of May 10 after the police mounted a raid.
At least 50 militants, inspired by the inmates, were detected heading to the Brimob headquarters to join forces with the rioters.
Police arrested some of them, including two young women who planned to attack police officers by stabbing them with scissors. They had taken their cue from a "lone wolf" attacker who had stabbed an officer to death at the Brimob headquarters.
On May 13, a family of six, whom police said belonged to a sleeper cell, carried out suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya in Indonesia's East Java province during Sunday mass, killing worshippers. This was followed by attacks on the Surabaya police headquarters and the Riau provincial police headquarters.
Since the Brimob incident, more than 130 militants have been arrested or killed during police raids.