At least five militants and two civilians were killed in a series of explosions and shootings that rocked Jakarta's Central Business District on Thursday. Some 20 others, including five police officers, were wounded. The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to Jakarta Police chief Tito Karnavian, an Indonesian IS recruit, Bahrun Naim, had been planning them for a while.
After a four-hour-long gunfight, the Jakarta Police declared the area secure and free of militants. The attacks took place near the United Nations office, the Sarinah shopping mall and a Starbucks cafe. Several embassies, luxury hotels and offices are also located in the area. Local agencies reported that the police made six arrests in connection with the attacks.
Here’s how the incident unfolded:
8.10 pm: The Islamic State has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks.
4.45 pm: Islamic State-linked group Amaq News Agency has claimed that the Jakarta attacks were carried out by the terror outfit. It said, "Islamic State fighters carried out an armed attack this morning, targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital."
4.30 pm: Jakarta Police chief Tito Karnavian said that the IS was definitely behind the attacks. He added that an Indonesian fighter for the terror group, Bahrun Naim, had been planning them for a while. Besides two civilian casualties, at least five militants were killed – three in a gunfight and two in suicide bombings. Twenty others, including five police officers were wounded, he said.
3.30 pm: The Malaysian Police have declared an "alert to the highest degree" in the country, following the blasts in Jakarta. They are heightening security in public places and taking extra measures to secure border areas, Reuters reported. In addition, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issued a travel advisory to Australians in Indonesia, urging them to steer clear of the targeted areas in Jakarta.
2.50 pm: The Jakarta Police said that the attacks are over, and no more gunmen are on the loose, reported AFP. They added that the attackers were imitating the recent Paris siege and a militant group linked to the Islamic State suspected to be behind it. Al Jazeera reported that at least 17 people have been killed, including five attackers, five police officers, and seven civilians.
1.50 pm: Local agencies reported that the police have made six arrests in connection with the attacks. Operations at the theatre building have been winding down, with bystanders reporting general calm in the area.
1.23 pm: ABC's correspondent Adam Harvey reported that the police have finished clearing out the building where the terrorists were believed to be. It's over, said Harvey. However, this has not been confirmed yet.
1.15 pm: Journalists have just reported fresh shooting in Jakarta. This has not been confirmed.
12.50 pm: Neighbouring country Singapore has also condemned the attacks. Its Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement saying it was "deeply shocked to learn of the multiple explosions in Jakarta targeted at innocent civilians. We condemn these attacks and express our condolences to the families of the victims. We support the Indonesian Government in its efforts to bring those responsible to justice,” said the ministry in a statement.
12.38 pm: Starbucks has issued a statement saying all its outlets in Jakarta will be closed because of security concerns. It confirmed that one customer had been injured and was given treatment, while all its employees were safe. The Guardian reported that Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop issued a statement condemning the attacks and offering help to the Indonesian government. She also advised Australian citizens to tread with caution in Indonesia, avoid areas in central Jakarta and follow directions from local authorities.
12.30 pm: Iqbal Kabid, a spokesman for Jakarta police has given further information about their operations. He claimed that the police shot dead four militants. “We are sterilising the building from basement to top,” Kabid told reporters. The gunbattle between the attackers and police took place in a cinema that is in the same building as a Starbucks cafe that was attacked.
12.16 pm: Many of the details of the attacks remain unclear, with different information coming in from different sources. Here is what we know so far:
- At least seven people have been killed in multiple attacks in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. National police spokesman Anton Charliyan said the toll included three police officers and three civilians. Jakarta police spokesman Col. Muhammad Iqbal said the seven people included four attackers. The conflicting figures have not been resolved by a third source. The attackers used a combination of guns and bombs.
- The first explosion was heard around 10.30 am local time near the Sarinah shopping mall. Explosions were also heard near the UN office in Jakarta, which went into lockdown. Eyewitnesses saw three suicide bombers blow themselves up near a Starbucks located in the same area. A while later, a second blast was heard from a cafe next to the Starbucks, but this has not been confirmed.
- There was massive police deployment immediately after the attack, and at least 14 gunmen are believed to have been part of the attacks. Some of them are believed to be holed up inside the Sarinah mall, but this too is unconfirmed.
- Indonesian President Joko Widodo has appealed for calm and said the situation is under control. He also told citizens that the country would not be frightened by terror. The country's intelligence chief Sutiyoso confirmed that it was a terror attack, but claimed there were no indications that ISIS had a hand in them.
11.55 am: Indonesia's intelligence chief Sutiyoso said there were no indications that Islamic State militants were behind a gun and bomb attack in Jakarta, Reuters reported. “This is definitely terrorism, but there are no indications yet that it’s ISIS related,” he said.
11.42 am: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has condemned the attacks and ordered security forces to hunt down perpetrators, BBC reported. Widodo said the country "will not be defeated by acts of terror like this".
11.38 am: A body has been removed from outside Sarinah mall:
11.35 am: The US embassy has released a notice for its citizens in Indonesia: "This emergency message is being issued to advise all U.S. citizens to avoid the area around Sari Pan Pacific Hotel and Sarinah Plaza on Jalan Sudirman Thamrin, in downtown Jakarta. Preliminary reports indicate an explosion and gunfire has occurred in the general vicinity and situation continues to unfold."
11.21 am: A Wall Street Journal reporter has been posting photographs from the scene outside the Sarinah mall.
11.18 am: Multiple news sources reported that another blast was just heard in downtown Jakarta.
11.15 am: According to Reuters India, the Indonesian president has urged people not to speculate who is behind the attack, the president's spokesperson said.
11.08 am: According to Reuters, at least six people have been killed in the bomb blasts and shootings, and that the attack followed a threat by Islamic State fighters to put the country in their “spotlight”. The Reuters photographer saw at least three bodies on the road, and police training their guns at one attacker who was standing on a rooftop. Local news channels said that there were at least 14 attackers and it is unclear how many of them are still at large.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population. While it has faced some attacks by radical terrorists in the past, it does not feature among the most regular targets for groups like the Islamic State or al Qaeda. The last major militant attacks in Jakarta were in July 2009, with bombs at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels. However, before New Year's Eve, the country received intelligence that large scale attacks where being planned there, and has been preparing for that eventuality.
10.51 am: AP reported eyewitnesses saying that among the four people killed, three were suicide bombers, while the other person was a police official. Eyewitnesses claimed the suicide bombers detonated their vests near a Starbucks in the busy commercial district. ABC, meanwhile, reported that at least one UN employee might have been injured.
10.49 am: ABC's Adam Harvey tweeted that a police official told him the attack could be ISIS-related. However, this has not been verified.
10.47 am: AFP reported that Anton Charliyan, national police spokesman, confirmed that at least one bomb has been found, but it was unclear which explosion he was referring to. Charliyan warned people to stay indoors as operations are still underway. Local news channels reported that three more explosions took place in Cikni, Silpi and Kuningan neighborhoods, near the Turkish and Pakistani embassies. These are in addition to the six or seven that were heard earlier. No casualties have been reported yet from this second set of explosions.
10.40 am: Multiple explosions were heard in Jakarta's Central Business District on Thursday. Police officials told AFP that four people have been killed and a gunfight is still in progress. AP reported that the attack took place in front of the Sarinah shopping mall in an area that also has many luxury hotels, embassies and offices. There is massive police deployment in the area, and local reporters have been claiming that the suspects threw grenades.
Local news channels claimed that a police officer has been shot. A UN representative, Jeremy Douglas, tweeted that a massive explosion was heard outside their office and that the premises were going into lockdown. Douglas has been live-tweeting his account of the ongoing attack, claiming that there was a suicide bomber and at least six explosions have been heard. While the number of explosions was verified by several other news sources, it remains unclear whether there was indeed a suicide bomber.
An AP report claimed: "the country has been on high alert after authorities said they had foiled a plot by Islamic militants to attack government officials, foreigners and others. About 150,000 police officers and soldiers were deployed during New Year’s Eve to guard churches, airports and other public places."
In 2002, a terror attack killed more than 200 people in Bali, Indonesia.
Images, videos and details are emerging on social media: