JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Indonesian police said Monday that they have arrested 43 suspected militants believed to have links to last week’s suicide attack at a busy police station in the country’s third-largest city.
National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said those arrested are suspected members of a local affiliate of the Islamic State group known as the Jama’ah Anshorut Daulah. He said police seized explosives, guns, knives, arrows and jihadi documents from the suspects.
The arrests were made in seven provinces and include the group’s leader, Prasetyo said at a news conference in the capital, Jakarta.
The Nov. 13 suicide bombing involving a lone attacker in Medan wounded six people.
Among the suspects arrested in the raids were 20 members of JAD who have attended military-style jihadi training in North Sumatra’s Mount Sibayak, Prasetyo said.
Police on Saturday killed two suspected militants in a shootout in North Sumatra province’s Hamparan Perak village. Police said they believe the two were the bombmakers in the Medan attack.
A day later, four suspects surrendered to authorities, Prasetyo said.
JAD has been implicated in numerous attacks in Indonesia over the past two years and was designated a terror organization by the U.S. in 2017.
An Indonesian court banned the network a year later and asked the government to strangle its funding and support.
In May last year, two families carried out suicide bombings at churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, killing a dozen people. Police said the father was the head of a local JAD cell.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, mainly police and anti-terrorism forces and local “infidels.”