TERRORISM

President orders thorough probe of Indonesia suicide attacks

Indonesia's president ordered a thorough investigation Thursday of twin suicide bombings that targeted police, killing three officers, in the deadliest attack by suspected militants in the capital in a year.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he ordered police to "thoroughly investigate the networks of the perpetrators and hunt them to the roots." He spoke from his hometown of Solo in Central Java province.

The bombings on Wednesday night also injured six other police officers and five civilians.

Muslim-majority Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since the 2002 Bali bombings by al-Qaida-affiliated radicals that killed 202 people. A new threat has emerged in the past several years from Islamic State group sympathizers.

Vice National Police Chief Syafruddin, who uses one name, said an initial investigation into Wednesday's blast showed there were two explosions by two suicide bombers near a bus terminal, where police were providing security for a parade.

Police said an anti-terror squad immediately raided two houses believed to be owned by the perpetrators in neighboring provinces of Banten and West Java. Police seized camping equipment, sharp weapons, passports and other documents from their houses.

Police have identified the bombers as Ichwanul Nurul Salam, 40, and Ahmad Sukri, 32, both from West Java province, said Col. Arif Makhfudiharto, chief of the West Java anti-terror squad.

"Police have taken their relatives for questioning and DNA tests," Makhfudiharto told The Associated Press.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said one the two explosions occurred at a bus shelter while another struck near a parking lot about 10 meters (yards) away. He said initial investigations indicated the bombs were made out of pressure cookers and were carried in backpacks.

He added that nails, buckshot and aluminum flakes found at the scene indicated that the bombs were similar to a pressure cooker bomb that exploded in a vacant lot in February in Bandung, West Java provincial capital. The suspected perpetrator fled into a municipal building and set it alight before he was fatally shot by police.

West Java police spokesman Yusri Yunus said Salam's wife told investigators that the bombs used in Wednesday's attack and the February blast were assembled by another militant she identified only as Agus.

"We are now looking for Agus who is still at large," Yunus said. "He's dangerous."

Police identified the man killed in February as a member of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, a network of almost two dozen Indonesian extremist groups that formed in 2015 and pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

JAD members are believed to have contact with Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria, and the group has been linked to numerous plots in Indonesia, including a 2016 attack in central Jakarta that left four civilians and four assailants dead.

In March, police shot dead a suspected JAD member and wounded another as they tried to escape a raid. At least six other militants were arrested, including some accused of trying to establish a jihadist training camp in eastern Indonesia and suspected of having links with Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines.

Last month, police said they arrested three suspected militants who were accused of planning to attack a police station in East Java.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told his Parliament on Thursday that he had phoned Jokowi to "offer our condolences and our resolute support to Indonesia as we condemn the murderous terrorist attack on civilians and police in Jakarta last night."

Australia and Indonesia plan to jointly host an Asia-Pacific summit in August aimed at coordinating against the security threat posed by homegrown Islamic militants returning from battlefields in Syria and Iraq.

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Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.