Suspected Suicide Attack Kills 5, Injures 10 in Jakarta

Rina Chadijah
Jakarta
2017-05-24
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170524-ID-bomb-1000 Indonesian police place crime scene tape near a covered body part following a bomb blast at a bus terminal in East Jakarta, May 24, 2017.
AFP

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET on 2017-05-24

Three policemen and two suspected suicide bombers died in a terrorist attack late Wednesday outside a busy bus terminal in East Jakarta, police said.

Ten other people were injured in the twin bombings, carried out minutes apart at a time when many police officers were overseeing a parade in the area that was taking place ahead of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

“Once again I must express my deep sorrow because three police officers died,” National Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto told reporters at the scene after midnight (local time).

“Two perpetrators were declared dead, who are suspected to have exploded the first and second bombs. Five police officers and five civilians were injured,” he added.

The attack was the first carried out in the Jakarta area since eight people, including four suspects, were killed in an assault by terrorists in the heart of the Indonesian capital in January 2016. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for that attack.

After Wednesday’s attack, Setyo urged reporters to be careful as security personnel had not finished sweeping the area.

“The area is still dangerous and needs to be secured. We must be vigilant. Our colleagues must maintain their safety while on duty, so please give us time to search the crime scene,” he said.

Setyo linked the attacks to international terrorism, noting the suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England two days ago that killed 22 and injured 64, many of them teenage girls.

“In my view, this is linked to global attacks. We’re prepared, but we don’t know the place and where the action will be carried out,” he said.

Pictures reportedly taken at the scene showed bodies next to a motorcycle parking area and severed body parts on the street.

“Explosion near Kampung Melayu terminal a suspected suicide bombing,” Jakarta Police Traffic Management Center tweeted shortly before 9:46 pm.

Andry Wibowo, the East Jakarta metropolitan police chief, told BenarNews that police had been targeted.

Police had deployed near Kampung Melayu bus terminal to escort a torchlight parade that civil society groups had organized to mark the upcoming start of Ramadan, which is likely to be this Saturday.

“Those who were on patrol near the TransJakarta bus stop were attacked,” he said.

“We don’t know what kind of material was used in the explosion. Our officers and the explosives team are still investigating the scene,” he said.

Two explosions could be heard about 1 km (0.62 miles) away and sent white smoke high into the air.

“I heard two explosions. The first was around 9. A few minutes later there was a second blast,” said a man who gave his name as Rudi.

Many passersby panicked and ran from the scene, but others were drawn to it despite the danger and took pictures and videos of victims being rushed from the scene and body parts lying on the pavement, he said.

“At first I thought a bus had exploded, but it was not that,” Rudi said.

Another man in the area, Wibowo, said he saw blood and part of a leg at the scene of the blast. “Some motorcycles nearby burned,” he said.

“There were two blasts. First I saw smoke and then glass shattered. It was very strong, the ground was shaking, it shocked me. After a few minutes there was another blast,” Rosmala, an eyewitness, told Agence France-Presse.

After IS claimed last year’s attack in central Jakarta, Indonesian authorities launched multiple raids nationwide that foiled other alleged terror plots, officials said. In 2016, counter-terrorist police arrested 160 suspects, and between January and May 2017, the authorities said they caught another 26 people suspected of links with Islamic State or other militant groups.

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