Indonesian police believe they have foiled plans for a Christmas suicide bombing by shooting dead three suspected militants yesterday, following a number of plots and a warning by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
A firefight between militants and police erupted at a house in South Tangerang 25 kilometres outside Jakarta.
The incident came less than two weeks after Indonesian police arrested three people over a suspected plot to carry out a suicide bomb attack in an undisclosed location somewhere outside Java.
Reports said police arrested two men in the Central Java city of Solo. They are suspected of having made explosives to be carried by a female accomplice, national police spokesman Martinus Sitompul said.
A suspected female suicide bomber had been arrested in Purworejo, also in Central Java, Sitompul added.
“The group was planning to carry out an attack outside Java.”
DFAT issued the following advisory update yesterday afternoon: “Indonesian authorities continue to arrest terrorists who have allegedly been in the advanced stages of attack planning. The terrorist threat level in Indonesia remains high.
“Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in Indonesia, including Bali. Be particularly vigilant during the Christmas and New Year period as gatherings of Westerners could be targeted. The overall level of advice has not changed. We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Indonesia, including Bali.”
On Tuesday, the Bali police bomb squad detonated an unattended backpack in the city of Ubud bearing a sign saying “bomb”. It was found to contain fireworks and to belong to a Dutchman who had lost it. He returned to find his backpack had been destroyed in a controlled explosion.
Written by Peter Needham