Indonesia blames Isis for Jakarta attack killing seven

Indonesia sees first co-ordinated assault by team of suicide bombers and gunmen

Eyewitness footage captures a bomb exploding outside a coffee shop in Jakarta, Indonesia. Video: Reuters


Radical jihadist group Islamic State (Isis) has launched its first attack on the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, sending suicide bombers and gunmen into the heart of the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Seven people, including five attackers, were killed during a series of explosions and a gunfight on the streets of the city.

There were fears the attack could be the first part of a wave of militancy in Jakarta.

While Indonesia has seen attacks by Islamist militants before, this is the first co-ordinated assault by a team of suicide bombers and gunmen similar to the attack in Mumbai seven years ago and in Paris last November.

Quick reaction

Police reacted quickly to the assault, deploying snipers and special forces in the downtown area, but it took about three hours to end the attack, focused on a Starbucks café and a mall called Sarinah’s.

The dead also included an Indonesian and a Canadian, while 20 people, including an Algerian, Austrian, German and Dutch man, were wounded.

The last time Indonesia experienced a major militant attack was twin suicide bombings at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels in July 2009.

Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian said Isis was behind the attack and he named an Indonesian militant called Bahrun Naim as the man responsible for plotting it.

Footage showed dead assailants around the central strip of the dual carriageway near the Starbucks café.

“A group of soldiers of the caliphate in Indonesia targeted a gathering from the crusader alliance that fights the Islamic State in Jakarta,” Isis said in a statement. It claimed that 15 people were killed.

High alert

The city is on high alert after the attack. An exploding tyre afterwards triggered a bomb scare that shut down several major roads, and government officials have engaged in attempts to calm people down.

“The president has said the nation and the people should not be scared and should not be defeated by acts of terror,” said government spokesman Ari Dwipayana.

After various threats from radical groups, counter-terrorism police rounded up about 20 people with suspected links to Isis, whose battle lines in Syria and Iraq have included nationals from several Asian countries.

The attack came soon after a Syrian suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul on Tuesday. Authorities there suspect that bomber had links to Isis.