Expert: Sign that ISIS has expanded
While it is unclear who is responsible for the attacks in Jakarta yesterday morning, terrorism experts said the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are the likely culprits behind the Jakarta bombings.
Assistant Professor Mohamed Nawab Mohamed Osman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), who specialises in counter-radicalisation in the region, said: "There were reports that fighters trained by ISIS have returned to Indonesia and were planning to attack."
Dr Rohan Gunaratna agreed: "It is a sign that ISIS has expanded in South-east Asia and presents an imminent threat to Singapore."
The head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at RSIS added: "(The attacks) are now in the early stage, but over time, the militants will develop greater capabilities to attack (in Indonesia). This is only the beginning."
Yesterday's attacks come after a series of lesser-known terror incidents in Indonesia over the years.
Prof Mohamed added that although the number of casualties was low, yesterday's blasts were significant because of their location.
"The blasts happened near Sarinah shopping mall, an icon in the 1980s. It is a busy area with heavy traffic and tourists.
"It was a successful terror attack in terms of the attention it managed to garner."
With the bomb blasts hitting so close to home, Dr Rohan said it is a reminder for Singaporeans to continue to stay alert and vigilant.
Singaporeans who require consular assistance while in Jakarta can contact the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office at:
Embassy of the Republic of Singapore in Jakarta
Tel: +62-21 299 504 00
Duty officer mobile phone: +62-811 863 348
MFA Duty Office
Tel: +65 6379-8800 / 8855 (24-hour hotline)