Four ex-Islamic State fighters arrested in Indonesian anti-terror raids
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Affected Countries: indonesia;
Indonesian police on Thursday arrested four men linked with Islamic State, a day after a suicide bomber attacked a police station in Medan city, killing himself and injuring six people.
“The four suspects went through military training and also fought alongside Isis in Syria. (Anti-terror squad) Densus88 is further investigating (them),” said Dedi Prasetyo, the national police spokesman.
Police also arrested the Medan bomber’s wife for allegedly planning terror attacks in Bali using social media, said Dedi.
The latest arrests brought the total number of people held following the blast to 10 in anti-terror raids across Sumatra and Java.
There were no details on when the four alleged Isis veterans returned home, and whether they were linked to the Medan blast, but their detainment has raised concerns over the threat posed by returnees from Syria.
Indonesia has an estimated 34 jihadist fighters and some 700 citizens stuck in Syria. About 50 Indonesian Isis fighters and their families were believed to have escaped from Syria last month. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.
The country has suffered a resurgence in home-grown militancy in recent years, with police frequently the target of attacks.
The suicide bomber’s wife, known by the initials “DA”, was in contact with a female convict, known by the initial “I”, who was serving time in Medan, police said.
“In communications within their social media network, they were planning terror attacks in Bali,” Dedi said. “This is based on investigations by Densus88 as well as the cybercrime unit. It is being further investigated.”
The bomber’s wife was believed to have been radicalised via social media, and her 24-year-old husband later became exposed to the same extremist influence, Dedi added.
Anti-terror authorities were investigating whether the bomber was ordered to carry out the attack. Police were also searching for the bomb-maker.
“The bomb that was assembled was quite sophisticated. It had a nine-volt battery, 55 nails, five metal plates, and an on-off switch,” said Dedi.
Soft guns, bows and arrows, communication equipment, gas bottles were seized by police during the raids following the blast.