Thursday, January 14, 2016

14-Jan-16: In Indonesia's capital, a mall and a Starbucks now under terror attack

From Australia's Channel 9 News:
A massive police operation is now underway in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta following a series of deadly explosions that has left at least seven dead. Several blasts rocked the area around a popular shopping centre, the Sarinah at the crossroads of Thamrin Road and Wahid Haysim Street, as suicide bombers and gunmen carried out attacks on a Starbucks café and a nearby police post about 10.30am local time (2.30pm AEDT). Jakarta police spokesman Colonel Muhammad Iqbal said the explosions had killed seven people, including four of the attackers.
Video from the scene shows at least one attacker detonating a suicide vest near the shopping centre, exploding as he approaches the building. Indonesian media has reported that three suicide bombers targeted the Starbucks in the shopping centre, while two gunmen attacked the police station, triggering a gunfight.
It is understood some of the attackers are now holed up in a nearby building, with police surrounding them. There has been at least one fresh explosion nearby as dozens of counter terrorism police moved in on the building. Counter terrorism police are searching several nearby buildings, including a McDonald’s, and occasional gunshots are still ringing out. Local authorities have confirmed a police officer died during the attacks.
Police crouch outside the Starbucks an hour ago [Image Source]
It's summer in the southern hemisphere and Australians travel in large numbers to holiday in Indonesia. Over at The Age (Melbourne), they are reporting on
at least seven explosions... in Central Jakarta on Thursday, including two suicide bombings... Explosions occurred near Sarinah, a shopping mall in Central Jakarta, near office buildings and fast food outlets... There are other unconfirmed reports of similar explosions in Cikini (Central Jakarta), Kuningan (South Jakarta), Simatupang (South Jakarta) and Slipi (South Jakarta), as well as reports of gunshots in the area of Palmerah (West Jakarta). 
CNN are quoting
one analyst (who) likened the timed attacks to the Paris massacre where ISIS struck several locations at the same time.
The disingenuous BBC, caught up as usual in a bout of self-muting corporate bashfulness about calling this attack what it is and what everyone knows it is, is currently confining itself to such purely-functional descriptors as "series of bomb blasts", "further explosions", "gunfire", "suspected attackers" (because you wouldn't want to prejudice the potential legal case against the men hurling the bombs and firing the automatic rifles by making assumptions, Heaven forbid). The editors at the BBC leave it to a local political figure, the Indonesian president Joko Widodo, to extract them from their politically-correct know-nothingness by providing a quote, naturally inside a pair of quotation marks, that this is an "act of terror". Thank you, Mr Widodo, and good luck in the challenging days undoubtedly lying ahead.

(Some of our previous Indonesia-focused blog posts are here.)

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