5 killed as Indonesian police HQ hit in another IS-claimed ambush
Four men who attacked an Indonesian police headquarters with samurai swords were shot dead Wednesday and one officer also died, authorities said, days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group rocked the country.
The assault in the city of Pekanbaru on Sumatra island — also claimed by IS — saw a group ram their minivan into a gate at the station and then attack officers, police said.
Days earlier, two families who belonged to the same religious study group staged suicide bombings at churches and a police station in Surabaya on Java island, Indonesia’s second biggest city.
The attacks have put Indonesia on edge as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation starts the holy fasting month of Ramadan from Thursday.
Four attackers were shot dead at the scene Wednesday and another suspect who fled was later arrested, police said.
One officer was killed by the speeding vehicle and two others were wounded in the incident, they added.
Police said the men belonged to a local extremist group, but not Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, which authorities believe was behind the family suicide bombings. Both groups have pledged allegiance to IS.
The bloody violence is putting pressure on lawmakers to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take preemptive action against terror suspects.
Indonesia — which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October — has long struggled with Islamist militancy.
Its worst-ever attack was the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people, including foreign tourists.
Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown since the Bali bombing.
Most attacks in recent years have been limited to low-level operations against domestic security forces. But on Sunday, a family of six — including girls aged 9 and 12 — staged suicide bombings at three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 13.
All six bombers died, including the mother who was Indonesia’s first known female suicide bomber. It was also the first time children had been used in such attacks.
On Monday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in Surabaya, wounding 10.
The church bombing family was in the same religious study group as the police station bombers and a third family believed to be linked to the wave of attacks, officials said.