4 Assailants Dead after Attacking Police Headquarters in Indonesia

4 Assailants Dead after Attacking Police Headquarters in Indonesia

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018 - 08:00
Four attackers were killed in an assault against police in Indonesia. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Four assailants were killed by police on Wednesday as they attempted to attack a police headquarters in Pekanbaru on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The assault left one officer dead and two wounded, Indonesian authorities said, after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by ISIS.

The terrorist group claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack as well, but offered no evidence to back its claim.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said the men attacked officers after driving a minivan into Riau province's police headquarters.

He said a fifth man, who drove the vehicle, was arrested trying to escape.

"When the car broke through into the Riau police headquarters, it was blocked by policemen," Wasisto told a televised news conference. "Then four of the men got out from the car and attacked police."

Indonesian media said one attacker may have had a bomb strapped to his body but police did not immediately confirm the reports.

It was not clear if Wednesday's incident was linked to the earlier attacks which saw two families who knew each other and belonged to the same religious study group stage suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya, Indonesia's second biggest city.

This week's bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take preemptive action against people suspected of planning terror attacks.

Indonesia -- which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October -- has long struggled with extremist militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed over 200 people -- mostly foreign tourists -- in the country's worst-ever terror attack.

Indonesia's security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown that smashed some networks, and most recent attacks have been low-level and targeted domestic security forces.

Last year, a suicide bombing at a bus station in Jakarta killed three police officers.

But on Sunday, a family of six -- including girls aged nine and 12 -- staged suicide bombings of three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.

All six bombers were killed, including the mother who was Indonesia's first known female suicide bomber.

The next day, members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in the city, wounding 10.

The families have been linked to the local chapter of Indonesian extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which police said was behind the attacks.

The radical group supports ISIS, whose ambitions have been reined in after losing most of the land it once occupied in Iraq and Syria.

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