Shootout reported at National Police headquarters

News Desk Agence France-Presse

A police security team guard the entrance to the National Police Headquarters in South Jakarta on Wednesday, after gunfire was heard in the compound. (AFP/Mariana)

Officers shot and killed a person who entered the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon, local media said, in what the authorities described as a “suspected terror attack”.

Major TV broadcasters aired images that showed what appeared to be a woman wearing a hijab and long black clothes entering the complex as gunshots rang out.

The lone figure fell to the ground and lay motionless afterward as police surrounded the body, the images showed.

Police posts have been frequent targets of Indonesian extremists in the past.

The authorities did not respond to a request for comment.

The exchange at the police headquarters in South Jakarta comes days after two suicide bombers attacked a Catholic cathedral in the city of Makassar, South Sulawesi, injuring 20 people.

Several of the wounded remain in intensive care being treated for serious burns.

The reportedly newlywed couple who attacked the church on Sunday belonged to pro-Islamic State (IS) extremist group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), police have said, warning of more possible attacks.

More than a dozen others suspected in the plot have been arrested in recent days.

The couple belonged to an Islamic study group along with several of the other suspects, the police said.

Sunday’s explosion at the cathedral in Makassar took place just after congregants finished celebrating Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week in the run-up to Easter Sunday.

The attack came after the arrest of dozens of suspected militants in recent months by the National Police’s counterterrorism squad Densus 88.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has long struggled with Islamist militancy and has suffered a number of devastating attacks in the past two decades.

The 2002 Bali bombings were the country’s worst-ever terror attack, killing more than 200 people, mainly foreign tourists.

Security forces regularly arrest suspected militants and attacks have often been low-level and have targeted domestic security forces.

Before Sunday, one of the country’s last major deadly attacks was in 2018, when a dozen people were killed after a family of suicide bombers blew themselves up at churches during Sunday services in Surabaya, East Java.

The family — including two daughters, aged 9 and 12 — and another family of five, which later carried out a suicide bombing of a police headquarters, all belonged to the same Quran study group and were linked to JAD, which has pledged allegiance to IS. Formed in 2015, JAD gained notoriety the following year for a gun and suicide bomb attack in Central Jakarta that left four civilians and four attackers dead — including one bomber who blew himself up at a Starbucks outlet.

It was the first attack claimed by an IS-affiliated group in Southeast Asia.

JAD was also implicated in a 2019 cathedral suicide bombing in the Philippines committed by a married Indonesian couple which killed worshippers and security forces.

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