Police had issued warning over likely terror attack: VP

Police had issued warning over likely terror attack: VP

Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla. (ANTARA/M. Agung Rajasa)

It could only be forecast, but it could not be known where the terrorists will conduct their attacks."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesia State Intelligence Agency (BIN) and the National Police (Polri) had issued a warning on the possibility of terror attacks in the period between December 2015 and January 2016, according to Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla.

"The BIN and Polri have issued a warning to maintain vigil in December and January. Therefore, security was tightened during the Christmas and New Year celebrations," the vice president noted here on Thursday.

However, the bomb blasts that took place on Jalan MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta were unexpected.

"Terrorist attacks have also been unexpected. It could only be forecast, but it could not be known where the terrorists will conduct their attacks. They launch this attack unpredictably," Kalla explained.

A series of explosions took place on Jalan MH Thamrin around the Sarinah Building and the Jakarta Theater, starting at 10:50 a.m. local time on Thursday.

The Jakarta Police said the incident claimed 17 victims of whom seven were killed.

Jakarta Police Spokesman Sr Comr Mohammad Iqbal remarked earlier that there were 17 victims in total. Five terrorists were killed, while five police officers suffered injuries due to gunshots fired in front of the coffee shop or from bomb shrapnel. Five civilians suffered serious wounds, while two civilians were killed. One of the civilians who died in the incident was a foreigner identified as a Dutch citizen.

Iqbal pointed out that the police are now confiscating several pieces of evidence, such as homemade arms.

According to witnesses, the perpetrators behind the bomb blasts at the police check post and Starbucks cafe near the Sarinah departmental store were unmasked and carrying firearms.

"They were still young and were carrying FN pistols and backpacks," a witness named Ruli stated here on Thursday before being evacuated from the scene.

The perpetrator, who carried out the shooting, was a man wearing a short-sleeved shirt, while the others wore long-sleeved shirts and entered the cafe that was targeted in the bomb attack.

At first, Ruli thought that the shock wave he felt from the explosion was that of an earthquake, but after going downstairs, he witnessed the blast and a person being thrown out of the cafe due to the impact of the explosion.

Another witness said there were three suicide bombers who blew themselves up near a police check post at the Jakarta Theatre Building on the M.H. Thamrin Boulevard.

Tri Feranto, an eye witness who is a security officer at Mandiri Bank, claimed that the first and second explosions occurred at the Starbucks cafe at 10:35 a.m. local time.

The third explosion at a police check post was carried out by the three suicide bombers, in which a policeman was injured.

After the third explosion, a series of shootings took place that targeted the police, and two officers were injured during the gunfight.

Feranto claimed to have seen the face of the perpetrator who passed in front of him.

"He looked like an immigrant having dark skin, was not too tall, and still young," he explained.

Press attache of the French Cultural Agency (IFI) Dwi Setyowati whose office is near the bombing sites pointed out that he heard five explosions and gunshots.

"All staff members at the IFI and French Embassy are prohibited from going outside right now," she added.

The buildings and shops along the Thamrin Boulevard have been cordoned off. Some helicopters are conducting aerial surveillance.
(Uu.A014/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

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