Medan Knife Attackers Linked to JAD, Islamic State: Police


JUNE 25, 2017

Jakarta. National Police counterterrorism unit Densus 88 recovered Islamic State-related items in the house of one of the attackers on the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan on Sunday (25/06), confirming earlier suspicions that local terror cells might be intensifying assaults on the country's law enforcement apparatus.

Two men, identified only by the initials SP and AR, attacked police at a security checkpoint in front of the North Sumatra Police headquarters early Sunday morning, hours before the Eid prayer marking the start of Idul Fitri. One officer suffered fatal knife wounds.

Immediately following the incident, Densus 88 conducted a thorough search of SP's house, turning up a photograph of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"Yes, they found an image of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an IS flag, notebooks, VCDs, a laptop, a computer and machetes," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said in South Jakarta.

Setyo said the unit has yet to search AR's house.

National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said separately that police are on high alert as the attack confirmed earlier concerns that terror groups might be use the Islamic holiday to stage attacks on the country's law enforcement.

"The main target is the police. I have said repeatedly that for them, police are considered kafir harbi, or the infidels who wage war against them, so [police] are prioritized [in their attacks]," Tito said at the State Palace in Jakarta.

The police chief suspects the two attackers are part of the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) terror network, believed to be managed by militant Bahrun Naim, now in Syria.

"We recognized JAD's intentions to attack North Sumatra, as we arrested three people from the group two weeks ago," Tito said. "Today's attackers were part of that cell."

Police are now investigating if the attackers received help from other militants and if the terror cell still remains extensive.

At 3.00 a.m., adjutant first inspector Martua Sigalingging was stabbed to death while resting inside a marked checkpoint in front of police headquarters in Medan.

"The two perpetrators climbed the fence and then attacked a police officer [...] at the exit of the North Sumatra Police headquarters," Setyo said.

Setyo said four officers were on guard at the time of the attack, though two were on patrol. Brig. Erbi Ginting immediately alerted other checkpoints surrounding the headquarters and the two assailants were subsequently shot, leaving one dead and the other in critical condition.

Sr. Comr. Rina Sari Ginting, a spokeswoman for the North Sumatra Police, said Densus 88 previously informed local police that JAD intended to attack and burn checkpoints in the area a day before the incident.

"After successfully stopping the two terrorists, officers immediately evacuated the corpses of both Martua Sigalingging and the attacker," Rina said. "The wounded attacker has been taken to a police hospital in Medan."