According to the Financial Times report from the capital of Indonesia, initial reports of a wave of bombings across Jakarta appear to be in error, but enough damage was done. Terrorists followed up a bombing at a mall with gunfire before being killed by police, but at least two civilians are dead and 19 others wounded. Indonesian security forces are looking for accomplices to the five dead terrorists:
CNN says the death toll may go higher:
In a brazen midday assault, a team of well-armed militants detonated explosives and opened fire Thursday in the heart of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
When it was over, two people were dead and 19 more wounded, police said. Five of the attackers were also killed.
A manhunt is underway for additional suspects.
Conflicting information emerged in the aftermath of the attacks, with some officials putting the number of dead as high as six.
ABC reports that the carnage resembles Paris but on a smaller scale, and that the assumption is that it is linked to ISIS:
Attackers set off suicide bombs and exchanged gunfire outside a Starbucks cafe in Indonesia’s capital in a brazen assault Thursday that police said “imitated” the recent Paris attacks and was probably linked to the Islamic State group.
All five attackers and a Canadian and an Indonesian died in the midmorning explosions and gunfire that were watched by office workers from high-rise buildings on Thamarin Street in Jakarta, not far from the presidential palace and the U.S. Embassy, police said. Another 19 people were injured.
When the area was finally secured a few hours later, bodies were sprawled on sidewalks. But given the firepower the attackers carried — handguns, grenades and homemade bombs — and the soft targets they picked in a bustling, crowded area, the casualties were relatively few compared to the mayhem and carnage caused by the Paris attacks.
“We have identified all attackers … we can say that the attackers were affiliated with the ISIS group,” national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Anton Charilyan told reporters, referring to the Islamic State group.
If so, then ISIS may be demonstrating a capacity to run multiple operations in parallel. They claimed responsibility for an attack on a Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan today that killed seven security personnel:
The Islamic State claimed it carried out an attack on a Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan on Wednesday that killed seven Afghan security personnel.
No casualties were reported among those inside the consulate in the eastern city of Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan, officials said.
“Our security forces say that the target of the attack was the Pakistani Consulate,” said Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, an aide to the governor of Nangahar province. “The consulate has suffered some damages, but no one has been wounded or killed inside it.”
The Islamic State asserted responsibility for the attack in a statement released online. Nangahar is the stronghold of the Islamic State’s so-called Khorasan branch, which has battled both the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The range of attacks and their choices of target show that ISIS isn’t too particular about who they kill. Indonesia is the largest Muslim-majority nation, and while the terrorists in Jakarta appear to have targeted a place frequented by Westerners — as the terrorist did in Istanbul earlier this week — the terror attack will end up hurting Indonesians who will lose tourism and business-travel income. In Afghanistan, the attack aimed at a Sunni Muslim state, and one who had been at one point at least tacitly aligned with the earlier form of ISIS’ organization, al-Qaeda. With their declaration of a caliphate, ISIS demands loyalty and subservience from other Muslims, and apparently isn’t patient about their refusals.
That should be a warning to other nations that allowing ISIS to metastasize in the Syrian-Iraq region makes them much less safe. They would do better by forcing ISIS to fight their military than giving them enough space to conduct terror attacks around the world against their civilians. Unfortunately, the region is so fragmented that ISIS’ opponents are more likely to fight each other.
Update: To no one’s surprise …
BREAKING: Islamic State officially claims Jakarta attacks: statement
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 14, 2016