JAKARTA • Two members of an ISIS-linked terror network stabbed Indonesia's chief security minister Wiranto yesterday, the country's intelligence head said, as the powerful politician underwent emergency surgery for his wounds.
Television images showed security officers wrestling a man and woman to the ground in Pandeglang, in Java, after the attack on Mr Wiranto as he was exiting a vehicle.
The suspects were identified as Syahril Alamsyah, 31, and his wife Fitri Andriana, 21.
National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said the husband was carrying two knives, but police officers intervened before the wife, who was wielding scissors, could also stab Mr Wiranto, 72.
They were members of the extremist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), said State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan.
JAD is among dozens of radical groups that have pledged loyalty to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group in Indonesia, which has long struggled with Islamist militancy. Last year, JAD staged a wave of suicide bombings by families - including young children - at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen congregants.
Mr Wiranto, the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, was rushed by helicopter to the capital, where he was treated for two knife wounds in his stomach.
President Joko Widodo said: "He is currently in surgery, and I ask that all Indonesians pray that he gets well soon." He added: "I ask for everyone's help in fighting radicalism and terrorism because we can only do it together."
The assassination attempt comes just over a week before Mr Joko kicks off a second term as leader of the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.
An eyewitness said the female attacker was dressed in a body-and-face-covering niqab.
"When the car stopped, there were people circling around, protecting (Wiranto)," he said. "But a man got into the circle and stabbed Wiranto. The woman also tried to stab him. He was arrested, and the woman fought the police."
In May, police said Mr Wiranto and three other top officials were targeted in a failed assassination plot linked to deadly riots in Jakarta after Mr Joko's re-election victory.
A group of six people - arrested before they could carry out the killings - planned to murder the officials and an election pollster in a bid to plunge the country into chaos, police said at the time.
Mr Wiranto has been the chief security minister since 2016. His appointment drew criticism from rights groups for his involvement as chief of the armed forces in the upheaval in Timor-Leste. He was indicted by a United Nations panel over the bloodshed surrounding the 1999 independence vote, when about 1,000 people were killed, but has denied any wrongdoing.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs last night condemned the "senseless terrorist attack" on Mr Wiranto, and wished him and the others who were injured a swift and complete recovery.
Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean posted the link to a Straits Times story on the attack on his Facebook page.
"My old friend Gen (Retd) Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, was stabbed in Banten, Java, today. I'd just met him last week in Singapore at the Singapore International Cyberweek. I wish him a full and speedy recovery," he wrote.