At least four killed after explosions rock downtown Jakarta

JAKARTA, Indonesia - At least three suicide bombers exploded themselves in a Starbucks cafe in downtown Jakarta on Thursday while two gunmen attacked a police post nearby, a witness told The Associated Press.

See Full Article

TVOne, a local television network, reported three other explosions in other parts of the city.

At least one policeman was killed in addition to the bombers. An Associated Press photographer saw three bodies behind police lines, lying on a sidewalk. Their identities were unclear.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militant groups, which have carried out several attacks in the past across Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

It would be the first major attack in the capital Jakarta since the bombings of two hotels in 2009.

"This act is clearly aimed at disturbing public order and spreading terror among people," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, said in statement on television. Jokowi who is on a working visit in West Java town of Cirebon, said he is returning to Jakarta immediately.

"The state, the nation and the people should not be afraid of, and lose to, such terror acts," he said.

The first explosion apparently triggered a gun-battle between the attackers and anti-terror police squads, and gunfire could be heard more than 1 1/2 hours later.

Tri Seranto, a bank security guard, told The Associated Press he saw at least five attackers, including three suicide bombers who exploded themselves in the Starbucks.

He said he was out on the street when he saw the three men entering Starbucks and saw them blowing themselves up one by one. He said the other two attackers, carrying handguns, entered a police post from where he heard gunfire. He said he later saw one policeman dead and three seriously wounded.

He said he was not injured in the explosions as he was a little distance away, but close enough to witness the attack at 10.30 a.m. (0230 GMT).

He said the two gunmen ran away with police chasing them.

About two hours later, another explosion was heard from a cafe near the Starbucks, about five minutes after 25 anti-terror policemen entered it. It was not clear if the explosion was a controlled detonation or a bomb.

Gunshots were heard after the midmorning explosion in front of the Sarinah shopping mall and a police station. The area also has many luxury hotels, and offices and embassies, including the French. The other set of explosions were in neighbourhoods where the embassies of Turkey and Pakistan are located.

Tweets from the account of Jeremy Douglas, regional representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, described a bomb and "serious" exchanges of gunfire on the street outside his Jakarta office. "Didn't experience this in 3.5 years in #Pakistan," he wrote.

"A massive #bomb went off in front of our new #Indonesia office as ?collie-brown & I exit car. Chaos & we're going into lock-down," he wrote. And three minutes later: "Apparent #suicidebomber literally 100m from the office and my hotel. Now gunfire."

About 30 minutes after his first post about the bombing, he posted that things were "quiet. Not comfortable quiet."

Indonesia has been a victim of several bombing attacks in the past, claimed by Islamic militant groups.

Last month, anti-terror police arrested nine men and said the group had wanted to "perform a 'concert' to attract international news coverage of their existence here." Police cited a document seized from the group that described the planned attacks as a "concert."

The country has been on high alert after authorities said they had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to attack government officials, foreigners and others. About 150,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed during New Year's Eve to guard churches, airports and other public places.

More than 9,000 police were also deployed in Bali, the site of Indonesia's deadliest terror attack, which killed 202 people in 2002.

National Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Anton Charliyan said security is focused on anticipating attacks in vulnerable regions, including Jakarta.

On Tuesday, the jailed radical Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir appealed to an Indonesia court to have his conviction for funding a terror training camp overturned, arguing that his support for the camp was an act of worship.

The 77-year-old leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network filed a judicial review of his 2011 conviction, when he was sentenced to 15 years in jail for setting up the camp in Aceh province. A higher court later cut the sentence to nine years.

Indonesia has suffered a spate of deadly attacks by the Jemaah Islamiyah network in the past. But strikes in recent years have been smaller and less deadly, and have targeted government authorities, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Donald Trump on being president: ‘I thought it would be easier’ [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is sounding wistful as he reflects on his first 100 days on the job. The president says he “loved” his “previous life. I had so many things going.” He says his new gig is “more work than in my previous life. Source
  • Canadian Forces say they want to remove 77 members for sexual misconduct

    World News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Military officials say they have moved this year to force out 77 service members found guilty of sexual misconduct. Many of the cases are older and none of the members have been released yet, as their files go through what the military says is due process. Source
  • House OKs bill averting Saturday gov't shutdown, Senate next

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- With just hours to spare, the House easily approved a short-term spending bill Friday that would prevent a partial federal shutdown over the weekend. But on President Donald Trump's 99th day in office, lawmakers were leaving for the weekend without completing two other measures he's coveted: A Republican health care overhaul and a budget financing government for the entire year. Source
  • Trump signs order to expand drilling in Arctic, Atlantic oceans

    World News CBC News
    Working to dismantle his predecessor's environmental legacy, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order Friday that could lead to the expansion of drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. With one day left to rack up accomplishments before he reaches his 100th day in office, Trump ordered his interior secretary to review an Obama-era plan that dictates which locations are open to offshore drilling, with the goal of the new administration to expand operations. Source
  • Body of Sgt. Robert Dynerowicz returning to Kitchener, Ont. Friday

    Canada News CBC News
    The body of Sgt. Robert "Bobby" Dynerowicz will be returned to Kitchener, Ont. Friday afternoon. Dynerowicz died Tuesday after he was involved in an accident while riding in a light armoured vehicle during training at CFB Wainwright, Alta. Source
  • U.S. to push for tighter sanctions on North Korea at UN Security Council meeting

    World News Toronto Sun
    Turning to diplomacy after flexing military muscle, the United States will urge the U.N. Security Council on Friday to increase economic pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, leaning on China in particular to turn the screws on its wayward ally. Source
  • Cops: Purse saved woman shot at point-blank range

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Police say a New York City woman shot at point-blank range during a robbery was saved from a bullet wound thanks to her purse. The New York Police Department says a 52-year-old man ran up to his intended victim on a Brooklyn street early Wednesday morning and demanded her car keys. Source
  • Forces seek to oust 77 members for sexual misconduct

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Military officials say they have moved this year to force out 77 service members found guilty of sexual misconduct. Many of the cases are older and none of the members have been released yet, as their files go through what the military says is due process. Source
  • Forces seeking ouster of 77 for sexual misconduct

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Military officials say they have moved this year to force out 77 service members found guilty of sexual misconduct. Many of the cases are older and none of the members have been released yet, as their files go through what the military says is due process. Source
  • Trump: ‘I thought it would be easier’ [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is sounding wistful as he reflects on his first 100 days on the job. The president says he “loved” his “previous life. I had so many things going.” He says his new gig is “more work than in my previous life. Source