Counterterrorism agencies advised to maintain vigil until January

Counterterrorism agencies advised to maintain vigil until January

Terrorism expert Ridlwan Habib (photo: ANTARA/Boyke Ledy Watra)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - A terrorism expert has called on counter-terrorism agencies in Indonesia to remain alert and focus on any potential terror threat during the Christmas and New Year's Eve holiday season until the first month of 2020.

Precautionary measures should be extended while drawing reference to the terrorist attack on Thamrin Street in Central Jakarta on January 14, 2016, Habib noted here on Wednesday.

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The terrorist attack on January 14, 2016, exposed the fact that such an incident took place after security agencies might have lowered their vigil. Hence, counter-terrorism agencies should not merely focus on such dates as Dec 25 and 31, and Jan 1.

Habib noted that the extended period to stay alert to any potential threat of terror acts was deemed necessary since the attack patterns of the terrorists might have also changed.

He forecast that the terror acts could potentially take place from December 2019 to January 2020, though the attack patterns could slightly change than those in the earlier years.

The culprits were willing to demonstrate their consistency and existence in Indonesia and loyalty to their leader, Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi, in Syria. The attack patterns that they might adopt could be akin to the one employed by the perpetrator in the Wiranto case.

On Oct 10, 2019, a man used a knife to assault Wiranto, who was then holding the post of coordinating minister for political, legal, and security affairs.

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Wiranto sustained injuries after being stabbed by the man at the Menes Square area of Purwaraja Village, Menes Sub-district, Pandeglang District, Banten Province.

"Thus, the culprits may launch stabbing attacks by using tools around us. They may likely do that to figures or individuals that they view as their enemies," Habib cautioned.

Indonesia has become the target of attacks by terrorists since 2000, and the spread of extremism and terrorism continues to threaten the country.

On Nov 13, 2019, a suicide bomber had attacked the Medan city police headquarters in North Sumatra Province, killing the culprit and injuring six people.

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In March this year, in North Sumatra, Solimah, a housewife, detonated a home-made bomb inside her house in Sibolga.

ANTARA noted that in May 2018, a church in the East Java city of Surabaya was attacked. Three years back, ISIS supporters in Indonesia had launched a suicide bombing and shooting attack in Jakarta on January 14, 2016, which resulted in the deaths of eight people, including three innocent civilians.

The incident adds to the list of deadly assaults conducted by terrorist cells in Indonesia. From 2000 to 2012, over a dozen attacks have taken place in the capital city, including the Australian embassy bombing on September 9, 2004, and the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotel bombings on July 17, 2009.

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