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Jakarta Attack May Not Have Gone as Planned

Jakarta Attack May Not Have Gone as Planned

Jakarta Attack May Not Have Gone as Planned

JAKARTA – This week’s militant attack in the heart of Indonesia’s capital at first appeared to bear the hallmarks of recent spectacular strikes by ISIS: a meticulously planned, multi-stage assault designed to sow confusion and take many lives.
But things may not have gone completely to plan.

In interviews conducted by Reuters with witnesses and authorities, as well as video obtained by Reuters, a picture emerges of a calculated attack that swiftly fizzled out due to the militants’ lack of sophisticated weaponry and amateurish execution.
Police say the five militants who attacked a Starbucks cafe and police post in central Jakarta came lightly armed, with just two pistols and about a dozen low-yield homemade bombs. Over half an hour in which all the militants died, they succeeded in killing two people, and wounding 31.

The assault was “planned and organised but did not have the maximum impact,” national police spokesman Anton Charliyan told reporters on Friday.
He said the attack was “a new style of terrorism in Indonesia” modeled on the radical group’s attack in Paris in November, in which coordinated attacks by gunmen armed with automatic rifles killed 129 people.

“But these were guns and small bombs carried by individuals on motorbikes, (so) they couldn’t fit many,” he added.

According to witnesses and video, the shooters appeared to frequently miss their targets, and most bombs did little damage.

The largest explosion came at the denouement of the attack, when the militants appeared to blow themselves up by accident.

Security experts said the attackers appeared to be locals who were not trained or battle-hardened on Islamic State’s front lines in Syria or Iraq.

Kevin O’Rourke, a respected commentator on Indonesia, said ISIS leaders may conclude the attackers demonstrated “relatively weak prowess” with their weapons, and this could “blunt the impetus for attempting other such operations with Indonesian suicide attackers”.
Despite all this, witnesses described an attack that initially followed a clear script, and was carried out with chilling brutality.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, one militant emerged from a toilet in a Starbucks cafe and detonated a suicide bomb, killing himself and injuring several others, police said.
With three suicide bombers dead, the two remaining militants headed the 50 metres to the Starbucks as the streets cleared out. Unchallenged by police, they stalked their victims in the area near the cafe, said Ronny Gunawan, 38, who watched from a nearby office tower. The men sauntered in and out of a nearby building with chilling calm, he said. “They were ready to die.”

By a fence, Gunawan saw what appeared to be a foreign man lying wounded. “An Indonesian tried to help him, but while he was trying to drag the guy away, one of the terrorists … came up and shot both of them point-blank in the head,” he said.

A roughly 25-minute video obtained by Reuters shows what happened next. As police closed in, the militants huddled by their two victims, exchanging gunshots and hurling homemade bombs that exploded in puffs of white smoke but causing little apparent damage.
Indonesian authorities have identified Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian believed to be with ISIS in Syria, as the likely mastermind of the attacks.