JAKARTA • Indonesian police shot dead six suspected terrorists in a gunbattle in East Java, a national police spokesman said yesterday.
Inspector-General Boy Rafli Amar said the six were members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). They were cornered in a rice plantation of Tuban regency after attempting a drive-by shooting of two traffic police officers on Saturday morning.
"The attack is an order from Zainal Anshori, JAD leader, as a revenge for his arrest by counter-terrorism police earlier on Friday," Inspector-General Boy said.
Four of the dead have been identified as Adi Handoko, Satria Aditama, Yudhistira Rostiprayogi and Endar Prasetyo.
JAD is an umbrella group of Indonesian extremists formed in 2015 and claims allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). JAD is on the United States State Department terrorist list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of ISIS sympathisers in Indonesia. The group has been blamed for a series of recent attacks in Indonesia.
The stand-off on Saturday started around 10am when two Tuban traffic police officers approached a car stopped near their post, said Inspector-General Boy.
There were seven men in the car. "The passengers fired four shots and then ran away. The two officers missed the shots and informed their colleagues to pursue the gunmen," he said.
During the chase that lasted several hours, the perpetrators fired many shots before they got out of the car and fled into the rice field.
National police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said: "When the local police swept through the area, a gunshot was heard." Six of the seven men were eventually shot dead by mobile brigade and counter-terrorism police. One man was arrested alive.
The police seized the car, six firearms, dozens of 9mm bullets, four mobile phones, a two-way radio, knives and terror-related propaganda material.
Separately, the National Police's counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, arrested an Indonesian citizen allegedly linked to the ISIS at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java, on Saturday. The man, identified only as MNU, is from Pasuruan, East Java, and was arrested after arriving from Malaysia.
"We have increased security , especially in the most vulnerable areas," tribunnews.com reported, quoting East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera.
Indonesia, as the world's largest Muslim population, has been on high alert over a recent resurgence in radicalism inspired by the extremist group ISIS. The authorities believe that about 400 Indonesians have left to join the militant group in Syria and could pose a more deadly threat if they returned.
However, numerous recent plots linked to the ISIS have been botched or foiled, with analysts saying that many of the country's militants lack the capacity to launch serious attacks.
Indonesia has suffered a series of Islamic militant attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.
XINHUA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK