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Indonesian Police: Suicide Bomb Suspect Influenced by Islamic State

Kusumasari Ayuningtyas
Sukoharjo, Indonesia
2019-06-04
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A suspected suicide bomber lies injured after an explosion near a police outpost in Kartasura subdistrict in Indonesia’s Sukoharjo regency, June 3, 2019.
A suspected suicide bomber lies injured after an explosion near a police outpost in Kartasura subdistrict in Indonesia’s Sukoharjo regency, June 3, 2019.
AP

A man seriously injured in an explosion of a bomb that he carried near a police outpost in Central Java province was a suicide bomber influenced by the Islamic State extremist group, Indonesian authorities said Tuesday.

Seven officers were manning the post in Sukoharjo regency when the bomb went off at around 10 p.m. Monday after the suspect approached it, but none of the officers were harmed, police said.

“From our investigation, the perpetrator was a suicide bomber and he was individually exposed to the beliefs of ISIS,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a news conference, using another acronym for Islamic State (IS).

Police identified the suspect as Rofik Asharudin, 22. Dedi said police were trying to determine whether Rofik was a member of a militant group or an IS sympathizer.

Rofik suffered injuries to his stomach and hand, Dedi said.

Police seized chemicals, wires, pipes, a manual detonator and nails from the home of the suspect’s parents, Dedi said, adding that the bomb that exploded was of low intensity.

No group had claimed responsibility for the explosion in Sukoharjo as of Tuesday, SITE intelligence group, a U.S.-based firm that monitors online communications among Muslim militants, told BenarNews.

National news agency Antara said members of elite anti-terror squad Densus 88 were involved in the search in Wirogunan village in Sukoharjo regency.

Meanwhile, neighbor Sri Rohani said Rofik was polite and a good reciter of the Quran.

“On Monday after I still saw him, I asked him where he was going and he said he was going to have a haircut. His hair was rather long,” Sri told BenarNews.

She said Rofiq had not frequented the local mosque for a year.

“He used to go to the mosque regularly. He was a devoted worshipper,” she said.

The explosion occurred as millions of Indonesians were returning to their home villages for Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim festival that concludes Ramadan.

Police said last week that they were on increased alert for possible terrorist attacks during the holiday season, with more than 160,000, police and military personnel, as well as civilian auxiliary forces being deployed.

Al Chaidar, a security analyst at the Malikussaleh University, said Rofik was not a “lone wolf” militant but a new recruit with the “Semarang branch” of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a local militant network affiliated with IS.

“I can’t say when (he joined JAD) but he entered our database five months ago,” he told BenarNews.

Dedi said Rofik was in a stable condition and expected to recover soon.

Authorities were trying to determine the suspect’s motive, according to Hamli, the prevention director at the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).

“We are still looking into it, so we can’t determine it yet,” he told BenarNews.

In May, police said they had arrested 29 people on suspicion of plotting an attack during planned rallies by supporters of defeated presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. The suspects were caught in nationwide raids and were believed to be JAD members, authorities said.

Last year, in attacks that also took place in May, two families carried out suicide bombings at three churches and a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city and the capital of East Java province.

Two adults and their son were also killed when the bomb they were planning to use for a terror attack exploded inside their apartment in nearby Sidoarjo regency, police said.

Authorities said 29 people were killed, including 13 of the suspects who used their children as young as 9 in carrying out the bomb attacks.

Ami Afriatni in Jakarta contributed to this report.

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