Wife of Medan suicide bomber arrested, police say she planned terror attack in Bali

A security camera footage showing suicide bomber Rabbial Muslim Nasution entering a police compound in Medan, North Sumatra before he acrried out a suicide bomb attack on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Liputan 6
A security camera footage showing suicide bomber Rabbial Muslim Nasution entering a police compound in Medan, North Sumatra before he acrried out a suicide bomb attack on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo: Istimewa via Liputan 6

Indonesia’s National Police this morning announced the capture of a woman identified as the wife of the suicide bomber who attacked a police compound in the North Sumatra capital of Medan yesterday.

“Densus 88 [anti-terrorism squad] has arrested the wife of the perpetrator. The perpetrator’s wife is identified by [her initials] DA. DA is believed to have been exposed to radical values before the perpetrator,” National Police Spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta today.

Dedi added that, based on the police’s investigation, DA had been using social media to communicate with other terror suspects in order to plan attacks in the country.

“She has communicated with someone identified [by the initial] I, who is now carrying out her prison sentence at a women’s penitentiary in Medan. And in their communication on social media they planned a terror attack in Bali. That is being looked into,” he said, without going into specifics into what was targeted.

Last month, police arrested a man and his 14-year-old son suspected of planning a terror attack in Bali during a crackdown on suspected extremists following the failed assassination attempt on former chief security minister Wiranto. It’s unclear at this time if DA had any connection with those terror suspects.

Yesterday morning, a 24-year-old man who has been identified as Rabbial Muslim Nasution and had explosives strapped to his body, entered the police compound under the guise of wanting to apply for a police clearance letter. Inside, he detonated the bomb, killing himself and injuring six others.

Police are now searching for Rabbial’s imam (religious teacher/leader), who was not present when police searched his home yesterday. Police yesterday took Rabbial’s in-laws in for questioning, though neither them nor DA have been charged with anything as of today.

Police say their initial investigation suggested that Rabbial was a lone wolf attacker, but did not rule out that he may be linked to a terrorist network, as the recent arrest of his wife may suggest.

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