World

Indonesia arrests 2 over terror plot

Indonesian police said on Friday (Dec 24) that they had arrested two men, including a member of China's Uighur minority, who were allegedly involved in a planned New Year suicide attack in Jakarta.

Police arrested an Indonesian, named as Arif Hodayatullah, near Jakarta for driving a car without a licence plate and found several books about bomb-making inside the vehicle, according to a document seen by AFP.

An anti-terror squad raided his house in West Java, where they arrested a Uighur, identified only as Alli, and confiscated a suicide vest and materials that could be used to assemble a bomb.

"We also found a design (of how and where the attack would be carried out), but we... need to investigate more," police spokesman Anton Charliyan said late on Thursday (Dec 24).

The arrests come at a time of heightened alert after police arrested several other suspected extremists.

On Monday (Dec 21), police in Java arrested five suspects from a cell linked to the Islamic State group and four from one linked to the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, which was responsible for several attacks in Indonesia.

The country is deploying more than 150,000 military and police personnel during the Christmas and New Year period and has increased security at its airports after a threat was directed at an airport in Jakarta.

A police source, who declined to be named, said Alli was believed to be a bombmaker and was chosen to carry out the suicide attack.

INSTRUCTED FROM SYRIA

Hodayatullah told police he was instructed by a man named Bahrunnaim, a militant in Syria, to help Indonesians wishing to join the Islamic State group.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major bomb attacks between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

A crackdown then weakened the most dangerous extremist networks.

But recently, there has been alarm that Indonesians returning from battlefields in the Middle East could revive them.

terrorismARRESTSindonesiabombing