Indonesian national linked to bombing

Indonesian national linked to bombing

JAKARTA - Another Indonesian national fighting for the Islamic State (IS) was suspected on Monday of being involved in a suicide bombing targeting a government military base in the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit last week.

While the authorities are still struggling to identify the man, known only by his battle name Hanzhalah Al-Indonousi, several radical news portals have provided a glimpse into his engagement.

Al Mustaqbal, for example, quoted a press statement released on Sunday by IS' Wilaayat Salahuddeen branch operating in northern Iraq, praising Hanzhalah's accomplishment.

The online site reported that Hanzhalah drove an armored truck carrying 5 tons of high-grade explosives and rammed it into the gate of Camp Speicher military base.

In the press statement, IS claimed that dozens of Iraqi Shiite soldiers were killed in the attack on Saturday.

Al Mustaqbal, an IS media propaganda machine to lure young Indonesians into joining the group, has provided a web link that published the press statement and several photos of Hanzhalah before he allegedly carried out the suicide mission.

The Associated Press (AP) reported on Sunday that an Indonesian was among four IS militants involved in the foiled attack of Camp Speicher base that was heavily guarded by Iraqi soldiers on Saturday, quoting two unnamed camp officials.

According to AP, the militants were unable to break through as the guards killed the four men. Camp Speicher is an air base that previously served as a US military facility.

National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) deputy for international cooperation Harry Purwanto told The Jakarta Post on Monday that the agency was still trying to verify the reports. "We need more time to confirm it," he said.

The National Police are also struggling to identify the alleged bomber.

"We've just heard about the incident. We are still gathering information," National Police spokesman Agus Rianto said.

If confirmed, Hanzhalah will be the second Indonesian to take the suicide path to achieve the goal of militants after a 19-year-old fighter identified as Wildan Mukahallad from Lamongan, East Java, died for the same cause in February in Iraq.

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