Indonesia’s anti-terrorism police shot dead a suspected Islamic militant after he allegedly attacked using a machete as the officers were about to arrest him on suspicion of involvement with a banned terrorist network, a spokesman said Friday.
Members of police’s Densus 88 unit were trying to apprehend the suspect in Bandung Barat regency on Thursday when he lunged at the officers with a knife, causing injuries to their legs and abdomens, national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said.
“He pretended to surrender, but caught the officers off guard and attacked them," Dedi told BenarNews. “We were forced to neutralize him.”
A witness, Amir Sutisman, told reporters that the suspect, identified by police by his initials SHS, was outside his house when officers came to arrest him.
“I heard the cry of Allahu akbar [God is great] several times, and SHS was carrying a knife," Amir was quoted as saying by the local news website AyoBandung.com.
The local neighborhood chief, Dedi Kusnadi, told reporters that he had been suspicious of SHS after he was often visited by mysterious guests at night.
Dedi said the slain suspect was known to be a member of the local branch of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) led by a man called Arip, who was arrested the previous day in nearby Karawang regency.
JAD is an Indonesian militant network affiliated to the Islamic State group.
Police said on Thursday that Arip was believed to be involved in a number of terrorist attacks in Central and East Java, including a suicide bombing at the Surakarta police headquarters on May 5, 2016.
Last week, police arrested Wisnu Putra, alias Sahid, a subordinate of Arip, on suspicion of planning a robbery to raise funds for planned attacks in the provinces of West Java and East Java.
The group is composed of six to eight members, Dedi said, adding that police were still looking for other suspects.
Police said JAD was responsible for the series of attacks in May 2018, when two families, including children as young as 9, carried out suicide bombings on three churches and a police station in Surabaya, killing themselves and 15 bystanders.
The next night, three members of a family died when their bomb exploded during a police raid on a Surabaya apartment, bringing the death toll to 28.
Last month, a woman killed herself and her child during a siege of her house in Sibolga in North Sumatra province.
Officers identified the woman as the wife of a suspected JAD militant named Husain (alias Abu Hamzah), who was arrested earlier for allegedly plotting to attack police targets.