A group of militants killed and arrested by counter-terrorism forces on Christmas Day belonged to an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-linked terror cell and was planning to attack a police post in West Java on New Year's Eve, police said yesterday.
The operation came just days after three suspected militants said to be planning an attack on a police post in Jakarta on Christmas Eve were killed in a raid, highlighting the multiple security threats facing the country.
"Two of them would approach the targeted police post, hurt on-duty officers using a machete and knives, while the other two, on motorbikes, would monitor and be ready to rush to fetch their accomplices and flee the area after the attacks," police spokesman Rikwanto, who goes by one name, said of the planned attack at a media briefing yesterday.
Police had obtained the information from their interrogation of two of the militants, Abu Arham, 29, and Ivan Rahmat Syarif, 28.
The duo were arrested by the counter-terrorism force Densus 88 at 11.30am on Christmas Day near Jatiluhur Dam, 70km east of Jakarta.
Two other militants, Abu Sovi and Abu Faiz, were killed while resisting arrest.
One of them tried to attack the officers using his machete and the other unexpectedly rose from the water during a police search, before he was shot dead.
The two suspects told the police in preliminary interrogations they belonged to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah cell.
The cell is led by jailed terrorist ideologue Aman Abdurrahman, who has pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The four suspected militants had previously rented rooms in the nearby town of Bandung, but feeling uneasy as neighbours appeared to grow suspicious of them, they moved to a ramshackle house in Jatiluhur Dam.
Brigadier-General Rikwanto said the police found a number of mobile phone SIM cards, Internet modems, nails of various sizes, handwritten letters containing instructions from the cell leader Abu Fais and a weighing scale.
No explosive was found in their rented rooms, he added.
Police have been stepping up raids ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve. As many as 155,000 police and military personnel have been deployed from Dec 23 until Jan 1 to protect churches and other places where people celebrate year-end festivities.
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Last Wednesday, police killed three alleged militants in a raid outside Jakarta, foiling their plan to attack a police post in Serpong, South Tangerang, 25km outside Central Jakarta.
Police seized six packets, each containing about two bombs, from the house where the three were shot dead and a fourth arrested.
The gang was linked to a terror cell in Solo, Central Java, whose plan to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta was foiled earlier this month.
Police last Wednesday also arrested three other terrorists in Deli Serdang (North Sumatra province), Payakumbuh (West Sumatra province) and Batam (Riau Islands province).
This article was first published on December 27, 2016.
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