Indonesian counter-terrorism forces foil plot to bomb State Palace in Jakarta

Four suspected Islamic militants were arrested and a bomb safely detonated on the outskirts of Jakarta on Saturday, police said, adding that it looked likely the group was planning a major attack on the city.

Police also believe the group has links to an Indonesian militant fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria who is thought to have orchestrated a deadly terror attack on Jakarta in January.

“We suspect the target was a vital location in Central Jakarta” on Sunday, national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar, told Metro TV.

That vital location was confirmed to be Indonesia’s State Palace, the official residence and office for President Joko Widodo.

“The plan was to use the bomb at the presidential palace during the change of guard,” said Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono in a statement.

A woman was arrested in a boarding house in the satellite city of Bekasi where the three-kilogram bomb encased in a pressure cooker was discovered while two men were arrested in a separate location in Jakarta. A fourth person, a man believed to be the bomb-maker, was arrested in central Java island, according to police.

Local media is reporting that a search for two other suspects in relation to the bomb plot is underway.

Bekasi police chief Umar Surya Fana told Metro TV that the group was strongly believed to be linked to Bahrun Naim, the Indonesian militant currently in Syria believed to be behind the January attack.

Four civilians were killed in that dramatic attack — the first claimed by IS in Southeast Asia — which saw a suicide bomber blow himself up in a Starbucks and security forces battle gun-toting militants.

A sustained crackdown in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, weakened many of the most dangerous extremist networks responsible for a string of deadly homegrown attacks during the 2000s.

But there have been fears of a resurgence in militancy and police believe hundreds of Indonesians have travelled to Syria to fight with militant groups including IS.

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