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Indonesia Suicide Attacks Investigated 05/25 06:16

   JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesia's president ordered a thorough 
investigation Thursday of twin suicide bombings that targeted police, killing 
three officers, in the deadliest attack by suspected militants in the capital 
in a year.

   The bombings on Wednesday night also injured six other police officers and 
five civilians.

   President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he ordered police to "thoroughly 
investigate the networks of the perpetrators and hunt them to the roots." He 
spoke from his hometown of Solo in Central Java province.

   Muslim-majority Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants 
since the 2002 Bali bombings by al-Qaida-affiliated radicals that killed 202 
people. A new threat has emerged in the past several years from Islamic State 
group sympathizers.

   Vice National Police Chief Syafruddin, who uses one name, said an initial 
investigation into Wednesday's blast showed there were two explosions by two 
suicide bombers near a bus terminal, where police were providing security for a 
parade.

   Police said an anti-terror squad immediately raided two houses believed to 
be owned by the perpetrators in neighboring provinces of Banten and West Java.

   Police have identified the bombers as Ichwanul Nurul Salam, 40, and Ahmad 
Sukri, 32, both from West Java province, said Col. Arif Makhfudiharto, chief of 
the West Java anti-terror squad.

   "Police have taken their relatives for questioning and DNA tests," 
Makhfudiharto told The Associated Press.

   National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said one the two explosions occurred 
at a bus shelter while another struck near a parking lot about 10 meters 
(yards) away. He said initial investigations indicated the bombs were made out 
of pressure cookers and were carried in backpacks.

   He added that nails, buckshot and aluminum flakes found at the scene 
indicated that the bombs were similar to a pressure cooker bomb that exploded 
in Bandung in February.

   The attack was the deadliest in Jakarta since a suicide and gun strike in 
January 2016 that left four civilians and four assailants dead. Authorities 
have disrupted a number of other planned attacks since.

   In February, police fatally shot a suspected militant in the West Java 
capital of Bandung after his bomb exploded in a vacant lot and he fled into a 
municipal building and set it alight. Police identified him as a member of 
Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist 
groups that formed in 2015 and pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

   JAD has been linked to numerous plots in Indonesia, including the 2016 
Jakarta attack.

   In March, police shot dead a suspected JAD member and wounded another as 
they tried to escape a raid. At least six other militants were arrested, 
including some accused of trying to establish a jihadist training camp in 
eastern Indonesia and suspected of having links with Abu Sayyaf militants in 
the southern Philippines.

   Last month, police said they arrested three suspected militants who were 
accused of planning to attack a police station in East Java.

   Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told his Parliament on Thursday 
that he had phoned Jokowi to "offer our condolences and our resolute support to 
Indonesia as we condemn the murderous terrorist attack on civilians and police 
in Jakarta last night."

   "While we mourn, we must learn from these events as we do and sharpen our 
resolve to defeat the terrorists abroad and at home," said Turnbull, referring 
also to the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena in Britain that killed 22 
this week.

   Australia's opposition leader Bill Shorten condemned the Jakarta attacks as 
"absolutely despicable." He told Parliament the suicide bombings only days 
before the holy month of Ramadan showed that "terrorists have no respect for 
faith or creed or the background of any of their victims."

   Australia and Indonesia plan to jointly host an Asia-Pacific summit in 
August aimed at coordinating against the security threat posed by homegrown 
Islamic militants returning from battlefields in Syria and Iraq. 


(KA)

 
 
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