Indonesia Makes Arrests as IS Claims Jakarta Attacks

Indonesia Makes Arrests as IS Claims Jakarta Attacks
Indonesia Makes Arrests as IS Claims Jakarta Attacks

Indonesian police arrested three people on Friday suspected of being linked to suicide bombings in Jakarta, as the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group claimed the attacks that killed three police officers at a bus station and wounded 12 others.

The attack was the deadliest in Indonesia since January 2016, when eight people were killed, four of them attackers, after bombers and gunmen attacked the capital Jakarta, Reuters reported.

After visiting the site of Wednesday’s attacks, President Joko Widodo said Indonesia needed to accelerate plans to strengthen anti-terrorism laws to prevent new attacks.

“If we make a comparison with other countries, they already have regulations to allow authorities to prevent (attacks) before they happen,” Widodo told a news conference.

The president said he had ordered the chief security minister to get the revisions done as soon as possible.

Longstanding plans to reform Indonesia’s 2003 anti-terrorism laws have been held up by opposition from some parties in parliament and concerns about individual rights.

Muhammad Syafi’i of the opposition Gerindra party, who chairs a committee deliberating the bill, said discussions should be completed this year but there were still outstanding issues such as ensuring checks and balances on the counter-terrorism agency.

“This bill needs to be discussed in a cautious and comprehensive way because the purpose of all regulations in this country is to ensure they do not result in the slaughter of Indonesian people, ... but protect them,” Syafi’i told Reuters.

IS claimed this week’s attacks.

“The executor of the attack on the Indonesian police gathering in Jakarta was an IS fighter,” the group’s news agency Amaq said.

Indonesia has suffered a series of mostly low-level attacks by IS sympathizers in the past 17 months, but there are concerns that the sophistication is improving.

Police said Wednesday’s attack had targeted officers, using pressure cookers packed with explosives.

“The explosions were described by police on 24 May as ‘pretty big’, and the number of wounded and dead would suggest a still-crude but developing bomb-making capability for militants in Indonesia,” said Otso Iho, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center.

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