Homemade bomb explodes in Indonesian city, one attacker killed
An armed man has set off an improvised explosive device (IED) in the courtyard of a government building in the Indonesian city of Bandung but has been killed in a shootout with police afterwards.
The explosion of the homemade bomb occurred on Monday at around 09:00 (0200 GMT) in the West Java city. No one was injured or killed in the blast.
Police said the man arrived at the government building on a motorbike and placed a pressure cooker bomb on a table in a corner of the courtyard. After the explosion, he ran into the government office and the gunfight started. The attacker was later shot and killed by police.
Police said a second attacker was at large. It was not clear how the second suspect was connected to the attack.
“We have secured the firearm, the bomb squad has also secured a backpack. The bomb squad is combing the area to see if there are more homemade bombs,” Anton Charliyan, the West Java police chief, told local media.
“Situation is safe for now, but we must remain on alert and not underestimate things,” he added.
Police said the motive behind the abortive operation was to take hostages and force the release of prisoners held by the police anti-terror unit.
“The motive is to free suspects that are in Densus (Indonesia’s anti-terrorism unit) custody. We think the attacker is from an old network, but we are still identifying who he is,” Charliyan told reporters.
Another official, the provincial police chief, Anton Charliyan, later said that the attacker may have been linked to the Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) militant group. Authorities estimate that the JAD has hundreds of members who sympathize with Daesh, and the assailant in the Monday attack may have been one of them.
Indonesia has launched a crackdown on terrorists since bombings on the tourist island of Bali killed more than 200 people in October 2002. It has been facing a renewed threat over the past years from Daesh-linked militants. Daesh, which emerged in 2014, is mainly active in Iraq and Syria.
According to official figures for 2016, police killed 33 suspected terrorists and detained 170 more for attempted terrorist operations.
Last month, Indonesian police arrested 17 of the country’s nationals on their return from Syria on suspicion of having fought for Daesh.