JAKARTA, Indonesia (UPDATED) – Indonesian police announced on Saturday, January 16, that they had arrested a man they believe financed the deadly Jakarta attacks, alleging the suspect received the funds from the Islamic State group (ISIS).
National police chief Badrodin Haiti said 12 suspects had been detained in nationwide raids since Thursday’s attacks, including one accused of bankrolling the suicide bombings and shootings that left 7 dead.
“One of the people detained had received financial transfers from ISIS to fund the operation,” he told reporters.
Police had suspected a broader extremist network helped carry out the attacks, warning a larger team of planners, financiers and bomb assemblers was likely still at large.
The attack has been claimed by ISIS, which has ruthlessly carved out a self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and Indonesian police have more specifically blamed a Southeast Asian affiliate of the group known as Katibah Nusantara. (READ: Jokowi on Jakarta blasts: We condemn this act of terror)
Haiti said the amounts transferred were “quite large” and channelled through Indonesian extremist Bahrun Naim, believed to be the founding member of Katibah Nusantara and who police say orchestrated the Jakarta attacks from Syria.
The 12 arrested in the sweep across Java and Indonesia’s half of Borneo were associates of Naim, the police chief said. Pistols, bullet clips and mobile phones were also seized in the raids, along with plans detailing future attacks.
Amid the raids more details have emerged about the brazen assault, with police confirming a suicide bomber struck a Starbucks cafe and officially releasing the identities of the attackers and their victims.
The dual Algerian-Canadian citizen shot by militants was named as Tahar Amer-Ouali, while the sole Indonesian killed, Rico Hermawan, was being fined by the police when the attackers blew up a traffic post.
Twenty-six others were injured during the 21-minute assault, including six police officers and a security guard who remains in a coma.
However, other details remain unclear, with authorities still struggling to provide concrete information on the shock attack that unfurled in broad daylight on a busy street.
Police left open the possibility that one of the five alleged militants responsible for the rampage might have been a civilian caught in the cross hairs, stressing their investigation into his identity was incomplete.
Claims that dual suicide bombers were responsible for the grisly carnage at a police post have also come into doubt, with investigators now speculating hand-held explosives could have been used.
More certain was the identification of Afif, the attacker in blue jeans, black t-shirt and a black hat pictured preparing to raise his handgun in a photo that rippled across Indonesia’s hyperactive social media universe.
He was released from prison last year after serving a seven-year sentence for involvement in an Islamic paramilitary camp, and had been recruited to ISIS by Naim, the believed ringleader of Katibah Nusantara.
Another of the militants identified was also a former convict, police said, with little known about the other two confirmed attackers.
If confirmed to be the work of Katibah Nusantara, which is made up primarily of Malay-speaking Indonesians and Malaysians, it would mark the first violence in Southeast Asia by the group.
Authorities across the region with significant Muslim populations have repeatedly warned of the potential for their citizens to return from fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East and carry out violence at home. – Rappler.com
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