At least 6 civilians, 3 cops killed in Jakarta terror attack

14 January 2016

A series of bombs killed at least six people including three police in the Indonesian capital Jakarta today, with shots fired outside a cafe as security forces moved in, police and witnesses said.

The explosions were close to a shopping centre, the Sarinah, where bodies were seen strewn on the ground.

Indonesian police shot dead four suspected militants who were part of a bomb and gun attack, 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.

Police snipers were deployed among hundreds of other security officers, some in armoured vehicles. A bomb disposal unit was seen entering the building where Starbucks is located, which also houses a cinema.

An office worker in a building above the Starbucks cafe, who declined to be identified, said he and fellow workers had been ordered to stay put after the first blast.

"That's when I heard the second explosion. It was loud and powerful," he said.

Indonesia has been on edge for weeks over the threat posed by Islamist militants, and counter-terrorism police have launched a crackdown on people with suspected links to Islamic State.

But there were no indications that Islamic State militants were behind the gun and bomb attack in the Indonesian capital, the head of the national intelligence agency said.

"This is definitely terrorism but there are no indications yet that it's ISIS related," said Sutiyoso.

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

Uncertainty prevails
Police say they have arrested four people and killed three others believed to have been responsible for the attacks, but confusion abounds about the true number of perpetrators and victims.

In a Facebook post, the National Police said there were a total of seven perpetrators, three of whom had been shot dead and four ''incapacitated and arrested.'' They also said that reports that the assailants were heavily armed and riding motorcycles were not true.

The statement, however, contradicts an earlier claim by the police that the series of explosions in the area included blasts triggered by four suicide bombers. In a separate statement, National Police deputy chief Comr Gen Budi Gunawan said there were five attackers, two of whom were killed in suicide bombings.

Police have also been less than clear about the explosions, at one point calling them grenade blasts, before saying they were suicide bombings. Budi, in his statement, said they were grenades.

There is still confusion about the number of perpetrators and the death toll in the aftermath of the explosions, which started at 10:50 am in the parking lot outside the Starbucks coffee shop at the Skyline building (referred to variously in the local media as the Cakrawala building and the Djakarta Theater building). The area is more popularly known as the Sarinah area, for the department store next to the Skyline building and right in front of the police post.

A series of six more explosions followed, including at the police post at the intersection. Police arriving at the scene then exchanged gunfire with the perpetrators, at least two of whom hid out in the Cakrawala building, according to police. Budi claimed they were killed in a shootout with police, although reports suggest they were among those said to have been incapacitated and arrested.

Meanwhile, the number of victims is also in dispute. In the immediate aftermath of the blasts, witnesses said they saw at least six bodies in the area, although it is now known which of them may have been the suicide bombers. Initial reports said three police officers, from the police post, were killed.

At least nine people were injured, including a Dutch national, according to a list published by officials at Gatot Subroto Army Hospital in Central Jakarta. The eight other people on the list are Indonesians, two of them police officers.

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