Indonesia Arrests 11 in Planned US Embassy Attack

Indonesian police arrested 11 Islamic extremists who were allegedly planning an attack on the U.S. embassy in Jakarta.

Rachel Hirshfeld,

Indonesian police stand guard outside house o
Indonesian police stand guard outside house o

Indonesia's anti-terrorist squad on Saturday arrested 11 Islamic extremists who were allegedly planning attacks on the Unites States embassy in Jakarta and a shopping centre opposite the Australian embassy.

"The targets of this group are the US consulate in Surabaya East Java, the US embassy in Jakarta, Plaza 89 across the street from the Australian Embassy … [the US Mining company] Freeport [and] also a mobile police brigade unit headquarters in central Java," national police spokesman Suhardi Alius told reporters.

The terror cell had bombs and other explosives intended for a series of attacks across the country, he said.

The anti-terrorist unit, Detachment 88, arrested 11 people in four provinces, with a man named Abu Hanifah, from the central Java city of Solo, allegedly leading the group.

Police said the men were from a new outfit called HASMI, the Sunni Movement for Indonesian Society, and explosives and a bomb-making manual were found when members were arrested in locations across the main island of Java, AFP reported.

"We confiscated some ready to use bombs and explosive materials and [a] bomb manual," said Aliyus. "We have in our evidence explosive materials, ammunitions for various calibre and detonators.”

Saturday's arrests came after two policemen were found murdered this month while investigating an alleged terrorist training camp in central Sulawesi's Poso district.

Indonesia has been rocked by a series of deadly attacks blamed on the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah last decade, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

The country has not seen a major attack since 2009 and authorities say an extensive crackdown on terrorism has succeeded in debilitating Jemaah Islamiyah.

Smaller terror cells have emerged, but none have carried out any serious attacks.