JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia's anti-terrorism forces killed two suspected militants in a predawn raid in Central Java on Saturday, a police spokesman said.
A nearby rice vendor was killed in crossfire during the raid early in the day in Sukoharjo district, said national police spokesman Col. Boy Rafli Amar.
He identified the suspects as Sigit Qurdowi, a leader of a little-known Islamist militant group called Hisbah, and his bodyguard, Hendro Yulianto.
Amar says the two suspects are among fugitives wanted for a church attack in Central Java last year. He says they are also believed to have links to a terrorist network in the West Java district of Cirebon.
"They have planned attacks against police," Amar said, adding that the two resisted arrest.
A number of terrorist suspects have been arrested following a suicide bombing last month at a mosque in Cirebon that wounded 30 people, mostly policemen.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been battling extremists since 2002 when al-Qaida-linked militants attacked two nightclubs on Bali island, killing 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
Saturday's raid came two days after the arrest of four other suspects in nearby district of Solo. Their arrest brought to 10 the number of terrorist suspects arrested in connection with the April 15 bombing.
They include Muhammad Basuki, a younger brother of suicide bomber Muhammad Syarif.
Last week, police retrieved six bombs similar to the one used by Syarif, dumped into a river in Cirebon by a suspect after he knew that police were looking for him.
Police believe one of the bombs was prepared for another suicide attack by Basuki.
Police confiscated a number of firearms, grenades and more than 500 bullets and jihad books in the arrests and latest raid.
Brig. Gen. Untung Yoga Ana said the rice vendor, Nur Iman, was believed to be hit by a gunshot fired by Qurdowi on Saturday.
Also last month, police arrested some 20 suspects in connection with a series of mail bombs sent to liberal Muslim activists and a former anti-terrorism chief in March and plot to attack a church during Easter celebrations.