IS-linked attackers hit Jakarta; 7 dead

Updated: 2016-01-15 02:46

By AGENCIES in Jakarta(China Daily)

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IS-linked attackers hit Jakarta; 7 dead

Police officers take cover at the site of a blast in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Thursday. Several explosions struck the center of the Indonesian capital and gunfire broke out. Seven people died. DARRENWHITESIDE / REUTERS

Islamic State-linked attackers struck the capital of Muslim-majority Indonesia on Thursday, executing a Westerner and blowing up a Starbucks, police said.

Five extremists launched what police said were Paris-style attacks as they detonated explosives and shot at people in a district packed with malls, embassies and United Nations offices.

The assault also left an Indonesian man dead and 20 other people injured, and a police post destroyed, in what the country's president called "acts of terror".

"Their network has links to ISIS in Raqqa," said Jakarta police chief Tito Karnavian, referring to the IS group's stronghold in Syria.

The claim of IS involvement will send a chill through Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia with Muslim populations, where there are fears extremists bloodied on Middle Eastern battlefields could have brought their jihad home.

Police said the five-strong cell who struck on Thursday included three suicide bombers who initially targeted a Starbucks near a major shopping mall.

After the first explosion, men armed with pistols took two men hostage. Police identified them as an Algerian and a Westerner, although there were conflicting reports about whether he was Canadian or Dutch.

National police spokesman Anton Charliyan said the Algerian managed to escape with bullet wounds, but the second man was shot dead on the spot, while an Indonesian man who had tried to help the hostages was also shot and killed.

"Soon afterward, two men riding ... motorbikes, ran into a police post and blew themselves up," he said, adding four officers had been left in a critical condition.

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