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Indonesia jails mastermind of Myanmar embassy bomb plot

An Indonesian court on Tuesday jailed the mastermind of a Muslim extremist plot to bomb the Myanmar embassy for seven-and-a-half years, but the militant pledged to "continue fighting the enemies of Islam".

JAKARTA - An Indonesian court on Tuesday jailed the mastermind of a Muslim extremist plot to bomb the Myanmar embassy for seven-and-a-half years, but the militant pledged to "continue fighting the enemies of Islam".

Sigit Indrajid confessed at an earlier hearing to leading a group which planned to attack the mission in Jakarta to avenge the killing of minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The plight of the Rohingya, many of whom have been killed or displaced in communal unrest in Myanmar, has caused widespread anger in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

The plan was foiled last May 2 when police caught two of the plotters riding a motorbike in the capital, and one of them was found to be carrying a backpack full of pipe-bombs.

They had planned to launch the attack the following day.

Presiding judge Hariono told the South Jakarta District Court that Indrajid, 23, had been "proven guilty, legally and convincingly, of committing an evil conspiracy by carrying out an act of terrorism".

"The defendant's actions contravene government efforts to combat terrorism and they spread public anxiety," said Hariono, who goes by one name.

"The defendant realised the bombing would create fear among people and damage public facilities," he said.

Indrajid showed no remorse during the hearing and smiled during much of it.

After he was sentenced, he told AFP: "I will continue fighting the enemies of Islam."

Before the verdict, Indrajid told reporters that he would "fight" after serving his jail term, saying the eight-year jail recommendation by prosecutors was "nothing".

"It is not a death sentence," he said. "We need to fight for the implementation of Islamic sharia law here."

The plotters were part of a network called Negara Islam Indonesia (The Islamic State of Indonesia), and Indrajid is the third person to be jailed over the embassy bomb plan.

The court previously heard how he met some of his accomplices on Facebook, where he posted messages about the need to avenge the killing of the Rohingya.

There has been a string of attacks on the Rohingya in Myanmar since 2012, mostly in the Rohingya's western home state of Rakhine. Scores have been killed and tens of thousands made homeless.

The issue has sparked several protests by Muslim groups in Indonesia, including one outside the Myanmar embassy on the day the attack was planned.

The bomb plot underscored the continued threat of militancy in Indonesia, the country with the world's biggest Muslim population, even after a sustained crackdown over the past decade.

Hours before Indrajid was sentenced, police revealed they had arrested two militants in Indonesia's second biggest city of Surabaya for planning an attack on a red-light district and police posts.

Isnaini Ramdhoni and Abdul Majid were detained late on Monday at a petrol station in the city, in the east of Java island.

Indonesia launched a crackdown following a series of attacks on Western targets since 2000, including the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreigners.

Authorities succeeded in dismantling the most dangerous networks, and only relatively low-impact attacks mainly targeting domestic security services have been staged in recent years.

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