Daesh assault on Jakarta, 7 die; UAE issues safety advisory

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UPDATE: Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, has strongly condemned the terrorist bombings that targeted the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on Thursday morning.

Sheikh Abdullah said that these criminal terrorist acts are contrary to all human values and principles of international law, and aim to destabilise security and stability.

He also reiterated the firm and hard position of the UAE which rejects terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, whatever the motives and justifications, stressing the country's keenness to intensify its efforts to combat these criminal acts.

The Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of intensifying the international community's concerted efforts to ensure the eradication of the scourge of terrorism and find effective solutions to eliminate them.

EARLIER REPORT: Daesh militants launched a gun and bomb assault on Indonesia's capital on Thursday, police and media said, marking the first assault on the Muslim-majority country by the radical group, but five of the seven people killed were the attackers themselves.

It took security forces about three hours to end the siege near a Starbucks cafe and Sarinah's, Jakarta's oldest department store, after a team of around seven militants traded gunfire with police and blew themselves up.

A police officer and a Canadian man were killed in the attack, which - with the attackers - took the death toll to seven. Seventeen people, including a Dutch man, were wounded.

Two of the militants were taken alive, police said.

"Daesh fighters carried out an armed attack this morning targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital," Aamaaq news agency, which is allied to the group, said on its Telegram channel.

Jakarta's police chief told reporters: "Daesh is behind this attack definitely," and he named an Indonesian militant called Bahrun Naim as the man responsible for plotting it.

The drama played out on the streets and on television screens, with at least six explosions and a gunfight in a movie theatre.

"The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out. I see three dead people on the road. There has been a lull in the shooting but someone is on the roof of the building and police are aiming their guns at him," Reuters photographer Darren Whiteside said as the attack unfolded.

Police responded in force within minutes. Black armoured cars screeched to a halt in front of the Starbucks and sniper teams were deployed around the neighbourhood as helicopters buzzed overhead.

After the militants had been overcome, a body still lay on the street, a shoe nearby among the debris. The city centre's notoriously jammed roads were largely deserted.


EARLIER REPORT:  Indonesian police on Thursday arrested four suspected militants believed to have been involved in the gun and bomb assault in the centre of the capital, which killed at least six.

UPDATE:  The UAE has issued a safety advisory for its nationals in Indonesia and Turkey, following the terror attacks in the two countries.

Via its official social media account Twajudi, which provides a service by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for UAE citizens in case of emergencies, the current safety advisory states: “Emirati citizens living in Indonesia and Turkey are advised to take precautions in public places and communicate with the Embassy during an emergency.”

Citizens are advised to contact the UAE Embassy in Jakarta 006 221 520 651

UAE nationals in Turkey are advised to contact UAE Embassy in Ankara on 009 031 2490 1414

The MoFA has also advised UAE citizens to register with their respective embassy by using the smart apps available.

The advisory comes as a terror attack in the Indonesian capital Jakarta has left five attackers and two civilians dead after a spate of gunfire and explosions.

Meanwhile, Turkey has witnessed another attack earlier today when a massive blast destroyed the entire facade of a multi-storey police HQ in Turkey’s Diyarbakir province.

At least five people, including an infant, were killed as a result of the attack.

Earlier this week, Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square was the centre of a Daesh attack that killed 10 people.

EARLIER REPORT:

An assault on Jakarta is over and no more perpetrators are at large, police said on Thursday, after gunfire and explosions left five attackers and two civilians dead in the Indonesian capital.

"At the moment the situation is under control," Jakarta police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said.

Asked whether some attackers were still on the loose, he replied: "We can assure you there are no more."

Deputy National Police Chief Budi Gunawan confirmed the assault was over.
Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan had earlier said five attackers and two civilians, one of them a Dutch citizen, were killed.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major bomb attacks by Islamic radicals between 2000 and 2009, including a strike on the resort island of Bali in 2002 that killed 202 people.

A security crackdown has since weakened the most dangerous extremist networks, leading to a long lull in large-scale strikes.

UPDATE: Daesh-linked group suspected of carrying out Jakarta attacks: police

JUST IN:

Indonesian police shot dead four suspected militants who were part of a bomb and gun attack in the capital, Jakarta, on Thursday and the area is being secured, a police spokesman said.

"We are sterilising the building from basement to top," Iqbal Kabid told reporters, explaining that a gunbattle between the attackers and police took place in a cinema that is in the same building as a Starbucks cafe that was attacked.

"We will declare the situation secure soon," he said.

EARLIER: 

Gunfire and explosions in the Indonesian capital Jakarta killed at least six people Thursday in what the country's president dubbed "acts of terror", with fears that militants were still on the run.

Witnesses said a powerful blast ripped through a Starbucks cafe in the city centre - near a cluster of embassies and United Nations offices - and a nearby police post was badly damaged.

A body lies in the street after after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta. (AFP)

At least one gunman fired repeatedly at bystanders, reloading his weapon as police flooded the streets, they said.

Badly mangled bodies were seen lying on the road as security forces moved in behind the cover of moving vehicles, with regular bursts of gunfire and warnings of a sniper in the area.

"Four people died, one police officer and three civilians," national police spokesman Anton Charliyan told AFP.  Four suspected attackers dead in Jakarta.

Police take position behind a vehicle as they pursue suspects after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta. (AFP)

"For now the gunfire has stopped but they are still on the run, we are afraid there will be more gunshots."

Officers at the scene told AFP reporters to "get back" because there "is a sniper" on the roof of a building.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major bomb attacks by Islamic radicals between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 strike on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people.

Plainclothes police aim their handguns towards suspects outside a cafe after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta. (AFP)

A security crackdown weakened the most dangerous extremist networks, leading to a long lull in large-scale strikes. However, the emergence of Daesh raised concern that Indonesians returning from Middle East battlefields could stage attacks on home soil.

'Loud bang'
As well as the confirmed deaths, a number of people were feared injured in Thursday's assault, with an eyewitness telling AFP he had seen a "terrorist" repeatedly shooting at bystanders, including a local journalist.

Ruli Koestaman, 32, who had been in a meeting in a nearby building, said the attack started around 10:35am.

"Then I heard a loud bang, boom. It felt like an earthquake. We all went downstairs," he said.

"We then saw that the Starbucks downstairs was destroyed too. I saw a foreigner - westerner, a man - with a mangled hand but alive.

"A Starbucks waiter then ran out with blood coming out of his ear. And I asked anyone hurt inside, he said yes, one. Dead already.

"Then everybody gathered and a terrorist appeared. He had a gun and started shooting at us and then at Starbucks. Then the police post... exploded."

Koestaman said the attacker shot at a reporter who was at the scene.

"Police then started to shoot at the guy, who kept reloading his gun. And then there was another explosion. Then shootings."

The blasts - at least six, according to eyewitnesses -- were close to a shopping centre, the Sarinah.

Graphic photographs from the scene showed the bloodied bodies of what appeared to be two men in civilian clothes lying by the side of a road next to the wrecked police post.

Another body, also apparently male, dressed in black was pictured lying on his back in the centre of the street while another, almost naked, lay nearby.

Motorbike

Police initially said that the explosions were caused by bombs but later said the cause was unclear.

"This is not a suicide bomb. Based on witness account at the police post it was something that was thrown, whether it was a grenade or a bomb we still haven't been able to confirm," Charliyan told Metro TV.

He said at least one attacker, or perhaps two, fled afterwards on a motorbike.

The area is home to a number of embassies, including those of the United States, France and Spain.  A number of United Nations agencies are also housed nearby.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo urged people to remain calm.

"Our nation and our people should not be afraid, we will not be defeated by these acts of terror," he said, in comments broadcast by MetroTV.

"We all are grieving for the fallen victims of this incident, but we also condemn the act that has disturbed the security and peace and spread terror among our people."

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attacks.

But they come just weeks after Jakarta was placed on high alert after anti-terror police foiled what they said were plans for an New Year suicide attack in the Indonesian capital.

Late last month police said they had arrested two men, including a member of China's Uighur minority, who they claimed were involved in the plot.

After a series of attacks on foreigners in the last decade, Indonesian extremists have in recent years directed their violence at mostly police.

There have been no attacks against foreigners since the 2009 twin hotel bombings in Jakarta that killed seven people.

Blasts heard in Jakarta, casualties seen

Several blasts were heard in the centre of the Indonesian capital Jakarta on Thursday, and casualties were seen lying on the ground, an AFP journalist said.

A police post on a main street was damaged after six blasts were heard. At least three casualties were seen lying on the street, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

Gunfire was ringing out in the area afterwards, the journalist said.

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