Gunfire heard at Indonesian national police HQ in Jakarta

The exchange at the police headquarters in downtown Jakarta comes days after two suicide bombers attacked a cathedral in the city of Makassar on Sulawesi island, injuring about 20 others [Mariana/AFP]
The exchange at the police headquarters in downtown Jakarta comes days after two suicide bombers attacked a cathedral in the city of Makassar on Sulawesi island, injuring about 20 others

A woman entered the Indonesian National Police Headquarters in Jakarta and pointed a gun at several officers before being shot dead by police, in the latest in a series of attacks in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Authorities had earlier imposed a counterterrorism crackdown and were on heightened alert for possible attacks against police and places of worship following a suicide bombing at a Roman Catholic cathedral during Palm Sunday Mass on Sulawesi island which wounded at least 20 people.

Television video on Wednesday showed an unidentified woman wearing a long black robe and a blue veil walking near a parking lot at the police headquarters toward the police chief’s office building. She pointed a gun at several police officers before being shot dead by other officers, the body lay motionless afterwards, with the reports calling it an “alleged terror attack”.

On Sunday, a recently married couple used pressure cooker bombs to blow themselves up outside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi island. Police said the couple belonged to pro-ISIL (ISIS) group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and warned of more possible attacks. The attackers detonated their bombs when they were confronted by guards outside the church. Indonesia has been rocked by a string of deadly attacks by armed groups in recent years.

These include a 2016 Starbucks attack in Jakarta which killed four civilians and four fighters, an attack on a bus terminal in the capital that killed three police officers, and an attack on a church in Kalimantan that killed a 2-year-old girl a year later. Several other children suffered serious burns in the Kalimantan attack.

Indonesia’s last major militant attack was in May 2018, when two families carried out suicide bombings on churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen people including two young girls whose parents involved them in one of the attacks. Police said the father was the leader of a local affiliate of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.

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