East Jakarta suicide bombers linked to ISIS: Indonesia police

Ichwan Nurul Salam (right) and Solihin, the suspected Jakarta bombers. Police are trying to verify the personal details of the suspects.
Ichwan Nurul Salam (right) and Solihin, the suspected Jakarta bombers. Police are trying to verify the personal details of the suspects.PHOTO: INDONESIA POLICE
An Indonesian bomb squad police officer searches for explosives near a body in Jakarta.
An Indonesian bomb squad police officer searches for explosives near a body in Jakarta. PHOTO: EPA
A security officer walking near the scene of an explosion at a bus station in Kampung Melayu, Jakarta, on May 25, 2017.
A security officer walking near the scene of an explosion at a bus station in Kampung Melayu, Jakarta, on May 25, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS
Indonesian people standing next to human body parts at a scene where two bombers launched an attack, in Jakarta, on May 25, 2017.
Indonesian people standing next to human body parts at a scene where two bombers launched an attack, in Jakarta, on May 25, 2017.PHOTO: AFP
Indonesian people gathered at the scene where two bombers launched an attack, in Jakarta, on May 25, 2017.
Indonesian people gathered at the scene where two bombers launched an attack, in Jakarta, on May 25, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - The two suspects who killed three policemen at a bus terminal in East Jakarta on Wednesday (May 24) night in a suicide-bombing had ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the police said on Thursday (May 25).

Police spokesmen told a briefing the militants, who were killed in the twin blasts, had links to ISIS, and the bombs they used were low-grade explosives similar to the type used in a February attack in Bandung which was also linked to ISIS.

 

The first bomb was detonated outside a public toilet late on Wednesday, and the second near a bus stop some 10 metres away, police spokesman Inspector-General Setyo told reporters.

Police found an invoice dated May 22 from a store in Padalarang, West Java, for the purchase of a pressure cooker at the site, he said, as well as aluminum plates, nails, ball bearings, cable-switcher, and other bomb-making materials.

Insp-Gen Setyo said the attack is similar to the Bandung one, which was launched by a lone militant whom authorities suspected of having links to a radical network sympathetic to ISIS.

Earlier on Thursday a police source had told The Straits Times the Jakarta attackers were also linked to extremists in Poso, Central Sulawesi.

The source identified the first suspect as Solihin, an administrative staff at the Darul Anshor, an Islamic boarding school in Poso, and the other as Ichwan Nurul Salam, a 34-year-old man from Bandung, West Java.

Police are still verifying the personal information of the alleged attackers, the source added. 

President Joko Widodo condemned the attack on Thursday.

"This is execrable. Ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver fell victim, public minivan driver, store sellers, as well as policemen," Mr Joko told reporters in his hometown in Central Java, referring to the three slain police officers and 11 others injured, the presidential palace said in a statement.

The number of injured was previously given as 10.

While the police believe the suspects had ties to extremists in Central Sulawesi, counter-terrorism investigators are trying to establish if they were also linked to the remnants of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT) militant group which operates out of Poso.

The MIT is behind several terror attacks in Indonesia since 2012, including skirmishes with security forces during which police officers and people in Central Sulawesi were killed.

MIT leader Santoso, also known as Abu Wardah, and another MIT combatant, were killed in the fire-fight last year. Santoso and his men from MIT had pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Three Indonesian policemen were killed and five other officers were injured after the two suspects allegedly set off what was believed to be a pressure cooker bomb near a bus terminal in Kampung Melayu, in East Jakarta, at about 9pm local time on Wednesday.

It appeared that the bombing followed a similar pattern of attack by domestic militants targeting local police officers in Indonesia.

The policemen had assembled to escort a scheduled parade organised by a community group in the neighbourhood when the explosion was heard, said the police.

It also came just three days before the Muslim fasting month begins on Saturday.

On July 5 last year, just days before fasting month was to end, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up after he was stopped by officers from entering the local police headquarters in Solo city.

The bomber had used low-grade explosives in the homemade bomb, which like most improvised explosive devices (IEDs), contained ball-bearings and screws, and was trying to attack the policemen as they reported for their shift.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, has long struggled with Islamic militancy. Hundreds of radicals from the South-east Asian state have flocked to Syria to fight with ISIS, sparking fears that weakened extremist outfits could get a new lease of life.