Suspected IS Sympathizer Shot Dead at Indonesian Police Headquarters

Riza Chadijah
Jakarta
2021-03-31
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Suspected IS Sympathizer Shot Dead at Indonesian Police Headquarters Police tape seals off the family home of a woman police shot dead for an alleged attack on the national police headquarters in Jakarta, March 31, 2021.
[AFP]

Indonesian police shot dead an Islamic State sympathizer who fired at officers at the national police headquarters on Wednesday, the country’s police chief said, about the alleged terrorist attack days after a suicide bombing at a church in South Sulawesi province on Palm Sunday.

The attacker in Wednesday’s incident, who was a woman, was identified as 25-year-old Zakiah Aini, Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo said. 

“She attacked officers guarding the post by firing shots six times. We took firm action against a terrorist who tried to carry out an attack at the national police headquarters,” Listyo told a press conference.

Listyo said the woman, a university drop-out, had posted social media messages expressing support for the Islamic State extremist group, or IS.

“The person was a lone wolf who followed the radical ideology of ISIS, which was shown in her social media posts,” he said, using another acronym for IS. 

The day before the attack, the woman had created an Instagram account and posted a black IS flag with a caption calling for a holy war, Listyo said.

The woman left a goodbye letter for her family, the police chief said.

In her letter, which circulated online and was published on news websites, Zakiah allegedly urged her family to shun usurious banks, democracy, and elections, calling them the creation of “idolatrous infidels.”

“Mama, I’m sorry. I love you Mama. But God loves his servants more. That’s why I have chosen this path as his prophets and messengers did to save me and, by the grace of God, to ask for the salvation of our family in the hereafter,” the letter said.

In a video widely circulated on social media and messaging apps, the woman at the national police headquarters appeared to be pointing at officers before falling to the ground.

The police questioned the woman’s parents as officers cordoned their house in an East Jakarta neighborhood.

Indonesia has been on high alert since the Sunday attack in South Sulawesi.

Listyo urged police stations across the country to increase vigilance while “continuing to provide the best service to the public”

On Sunday, a newlywed couple carried out the suicide bombing at a church in the city of Makassar, police said.

The pair of suspects were on a motorcycle when they set off at least one bomb at the gate to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, a Catholic church, as worshippers were leaving a Sunday Mass service, police said.

At least 20 people were injured in the attack, which killed the bombers. 

Listyo said police had arrested 23 people in connection with the Makassar bombing, including a suspect identified only as W, who is believed to have assembled the bombs used in the attack.

Police said the suspects killed in the explosion were members of a local cell of the pro-IS Jamaah Ansharut Daulah militant group, which Indonesian authorities linked to a deadly twin-bombing in the southern Philippines two years ago that was also carried out by an Indonesian couple.

Retaliation

Ridlwan Habib, a security analyst at the University of Indonesia, said militants were trying to retaliate for the recent arrests of their comrades. Police have snared nearly 50 suspects from an al-Qaeda-linked militant group in recent weeks.

“The police must be more vigilant, especially as we approach the fasting month of Ramadan,” Ridlwan told BenarNews.

“Terrorists often took advantage of the holy month of Ramadan to launch attacks.”

Al Chaidar, a counterterrorism expert at the Malikussaleh University in Lhokseumawe, said the police could have avoided using lethal force against the woman in Wednesday’s alleged attack.

“It would have been better if she had been captured, because we would find out her motive and affiliation,” he told BenarNews.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council condemned the suicide attack on the Makassar church on Palm Sunday – the first day of Holy Week on the Christian calendar – calling it “heinous and cowardly,” in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation,” the Security Council said.

The council reaffirmed the need for all countries to combat “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”

The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, meanwhile, said a “comprehensive and collective effort remains necessary” to fully defeat the IS.

“[W]hile Daesh/ISIS no longer controls territory and nearly eight million people have been freed from its control in Iraq and Syria, the threat remains,” a joint communique by the foreign ministers of member-nations of the coalition’s so-called Small Group said on Tuesday, referring to the militant group by another of its names.

 

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