27 May 2019
Indonesian police arrive at the scene of the deadly bomb and gun attacks in Jakarta Thursday. Photo: Reuters
Indonesian police arrive at the scene of the deadly bomb and gun attacks in Jakarta Thursday. Photo: Reuters

At least 6 dead in blasts, gunfight in Jakarta after IS threat

Militants launched a gun and bomb assault in the center of the Indonesian capital Thursday, killing at least six people, in an attack that followed a threat by Islamic State fighters to put the country in their “spotlight”, police said.

Media said six bombs went off, and a Reuters witness saw police exchanging fire with gunmen.

Several hours after the attacks began, the witness heard more gunfire and at least one more explosion.

One blast was in a Starbucks cafe, and security forces were later seen entering the building.

“The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out,” a Reuters photographer said.

“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.”

Police suspected a suicide bomber was responsible for at least one of the blasts, and up to 14 militant gunmen were involved in the attack, Metro TV reported.

Police snipers were deployed among hundreds of other security officers, some in armored vehicles.

A bomb disposal unit was seen entering the building where the 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 counterterrorism police have launched a crackdown on people with suspected links to Islamic State.

“We have previously received a threat from Islamic State that Indonesia will be the spotlight,” police spokesman Anton Charliyan told reporters. But he said police did not know who was responsible.

He said three policemen and three civilians had been killed.

Media reported that a Dutch person and another foreigner were among the casualties, but it was not clear if they were dead or wounded.

Police said four suspected attackers were killed.

The last major militant attacks in Jakarta were in July 2009, when the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels were bombed.

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