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Suicide bomber targets Indonesian police station

Sydney Morning Herald - November 13, 2019

James Massola, Karuni Rompies and Amilia Rosa, Jakarta – A suicide bomber launched an attack on the Medan City police headquarters in North Sumatra, Indonesia, killing himself and injuring at least six people.

The blast occurred on Wednesday at 8.45am local time.

National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal told AP the attacker got past a guard post and into the yard of the city police station, which was packed with people lining up to obtain various police certificates.

Iqbal said the attacker detonated his explosives and died after being confronted by other officers, injuring at least four officers and two civilians.

Police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told a press conference "if we can manage to take his finger print and if he has an e-KTP [electronic ID card] we can find his identity soon".

Police later confirmed the bomber was 24-year-old Rabbial Muslim Nasution, a local student from the province of North Sumatra.

He said police were still investigating the crime scene. Police confirmed there was only one attacker, contradicting earlier reports that two people may have been involved in the attack.

Rabbial was said to be wearing the distinctive green jackets worn by motorcycle riders who work for a popular ride-sharing service.

Dedi said investigators were trying to determine if the attacker was part of the Islamic State-inspired Jemaah Anshorut Daulah (JAD) group, which claimed responsibility for the May 2018 suicide bombings in Surabaya.

Dedi said at a press conference later on Wednesday afternoon that Rabbial was suspected of being a lone wolf attacker but did not rule out the involvement of JAD.

"We suspect he is a lone wolf, a single perpetrator. We ask the people especially in Medan to stay calm and trust us, the police, to do our job.

"Police found on location a nine volt battery, metal plates, nails of different sizes, cables and an on/off switch. It is still being determined what kind of bomb was used, low or high powered explosives."

Bali police spokesman Hengky Widjaja said that ride-hailing vehicles, which include both cars and motorcycles, had been banned from entering police stations as a precaution.

"In Bali specifically the situation is very conducive. We are raising precautions by heightening supervision in the field and also with technology, such as CCTV and facial recognition software. We are increasing supervision on the entrances and exits to Bali," he said.

The Surabya attacks were a co-ordinated series of bombings that targeted Christian churches and local police headquarters.

More recently, former security minister Wiranto was recently stabbed by an Islamic radical affiliated with JAD during a visit to a university.

The Medan attack came as the country's counter-terrorism force worked to root out suspected Islamic militants following a tip about possible attacks against police and houses of worship since last month. More than 40 suspects have been detained, AP reported.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/suicide-bomber-targets-indonesian-police-station-20191113-p53a9e.html