Embassy terror plot fails in Indonesia

MICHAEL BACHELARD
Last updated 09:48 28/10/2012
Reuters

Raw footage as Indonesian authorities arrest 11 people they say were plotting to attack the United States embassy.

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Indonesian police have arrested 11 suspected terrorists who they say planned to detonate a number of bombs, including one at a building across the road from the Australian embassy in Jakarta, and another at the embassy of the United States.

National police spokesman Suhardi Alius said the Australian-trained anti-terror police unit Detachment 88, had arrested the terror suspects in four different locations around the Indonesian island of Java in a co-ordinated sweep on Friday and Saturday.

One of the group's alleged targets was a building, Plaza 89, which is close the Australian embassy in Jakarta. The embassy was bombed by terrorists in 2004, killing nine and wounding 150 others, and it has been rebuilt into a virtual fortress.

Plaza 89 houses the headquarters in Indonesia of the controversial mining company, Freeport McMoRan, which many Indonesians believe is exploiting a massive copper and gold resource in Papua without paying sufficient royalties back to the country under a deal inked by former dictator Suharto.

The arrested terrorists also planned to attack the US embassy, the US consulate-general in the city of Surabaya in eastern Java, and a police mobile brigade headquarters in Central Java, General Alius said.

The US embassy was recently the target of a large protest after the release of the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims.

General Alius said police had arrested suspects in Jakarta, Bogor in West Java, Solo in Central Java, and Madiun in East Java.

"We discovered explosive materials, a bomb-making manual, ammunition and detonators", General Alius said.

The suspects belonged to a new group calling itself Harakah Sunniyah untuk Masyarakat Islami, or HASMI, the police spokesman said.

Australian embassy officials would not comment, saying the arrests were a matter for the Indonesian police.

Indonesian media reported that suspects arrested in raids on Friday and Saturday included HASMI spiritual leader Abu Hanifah, and other suspects identified as Agus Anton, Usman, Harun, Budianto, Emir, Zainudin, Azhar, Herman and Narto.

Indonesia has not had a major terror attack since 2009. But the large and influential groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah whose extreme wings planned and carried out attacks such as the 2002 Bali bombings, have fractured into smaller splinter groups, many of whom have planned or attempted to carry out attacks in the past few years.

HASMI was identified in a 2010 International Crisis Group report as a Salafi group which believed in an Islamic Caliphate to replace the state of Indonesia. It was based in Bekasi, just to the east of Jakarta, the report said.

-Fairfax News Australia

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