5 killed after blasts hit bus terminal in Jakarta

5 killed after blasts hit bus terminal in Jakarta

Two of those killed in the explosions at Kampung Melayu bus terminal are suspected suicide bombers, Indonesian police say.

Jakarta blast 3
Police officers arrive on the scene after an explosion near a bus terminal in the Kampung Melayu area of Jakarta, Indonesia on May 24, 2017. (Photo: AP/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA: Two explosions rocked a busy bus terminal in east Jakarta on Wednesday evening (May 24), killing five people including two suspected suicide bombers and three police officers.

Ten other people were injured, including police officers and civilians, during the attack in a street next to the bus station in a working-class district of the capital.

The blasts happened at about 9.00pm (10.00pm Singapore time) as police were helping to secure a parade by a local group outside the Kampung Melayu terminal.

It was not clear who was behind the attack but Indonesia has been on high alert after a string of plots and attacks in recent times by militants inspired by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto told reporters that two suicide bombers had been involved in the attack and three police officers had died. He had earlier said he believed only one attacker was involved.

"I have to convey my deepest condolences because three police officers died," he said.

Five other police officers and five civilians were injured, Wasisto said. Both suicide bombers, who were men, died during the attack, he added.

The terminal is a local hub served by minibuses and buses.

Graphic video footage circulating on social media showed people gathered around human body parts, including an arm, scattered on the road near the site of the explosion. 

Photos online also showed what appeared to be a suspected bomber's head at the scene. 

TV pictures showed smoke rising from the Kampung Melayu bus terminal and police rushing to carry casualties to safety. Large numbers of police officers were present and had cordoned the area off. Past midnight, a large crowd had gathered and bomb squad officials and sniffer dogs were seen combing the site.


Ms Pasmi, a 55-year-old fruit seller whose stall is about 100 metres away told Channel NewsAsia there were two blasts within moments of each other. "The first one was very loud followed by a second one which was smaller. I saw a huge plume of black smoke and there was a terrible, biting smell."

"People shouted 'Bomb! Bomb!' And ran in all directions," she recounted. ""The bomb went off before 9pm and there were many people at the bus terminal as people were going home from work."


"Yesterday: Explosion in Manchester, bomb attack in Bangkok, ISIS attack in Marawi. Now: Bomb attack in Jakarta," said Twitter @hendralm, using the hashtag #PrayForJakarta. 

Another Twitter user in Jakarta said she was worried for her mother, who had not yet arrived home. 


STRUGGLE WITH MILITANCY

Indonesia has long struggled with Islamic militancy and has suffered a series of attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists.

A sustained crackdown weakened the most dangerous networks but the emergence of IS has proved a potent new rallying cry for radicals.

Hundreds of radicals from the Southeast Asian state have flocked to fight with IS, sparking fears that weakened extremist outfits could get a new lease of life.

A gun and suicide attack in the capital Jakarta left four attackers and four civilians dead in January last year, and was the first assault claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.

Numerous recent IS-linked plots in Indonesia have been botched or foiled, with analysts saying that many of the country's militants lack the capacity to launch serious attacks.

Source: Agencies/CNA/ek/hs/de

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