Six have been reported dead in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Thursday after a Starbucks and other nearby shops became the frontline of a terrorist attack. 14 militant gunmen are reported as the ones to carry out the attack. Six bombs reportedly went off and, at least, one is expected to of been a suicide bomber.
A Reuters photographer reports “The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out. 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.”
Security forces were fairly prepared for an attack, however. Police snipers and hundreds of other security forces were deployed to secure the area. Four gunmen have been reported dead in the cinema next door to the Starbucks after a shootout with police. The country has been on edge since “previously receiv[ing] a threat from the Islamic State that Indonesia will be the spotlight,” said a police spokesman. As of now, it is unknown who is responsible for this attack, but recent developments do not rule out the possibility of an attack from the Islamic State. Government officials estimate that there are over 1,000 Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia. The November 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 dead, have proven that ISIS is no longer a regional threat to be dealt with, and can incite homegrown terrorism. Indonesia has been fighting militants within its borders for years, but ISIS could restore chaos from years gone by. Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University Hugh White says “The thought that Indonesia could be taken over by IS is just absurd, but the idea that Islamic State could undertake terrorist operations in Indonesia aimed at destabilizing it, that is entirely possible.”
Reporting by Reuters