Jakarta attacks: Islamic State group claims responsibility

Jakarta:  The Islamic State group on Thursday claimed responsibility for deadly shootings and suicide bombings that rocked the Indonesian capital.

The jihadist group said, in a statement published online, that a number of bombs "detonated at the same time as attacks from four soldiers of the caliphate... with light weapons and suicide belts."

The death toll from a series of blasts in Indonesia capital, Jakarta, has gone up to seven as the firefight between gunmen and police officials is still underway.

One police officer is among the six killed, according to witnesses who said that he was shot by a gunman.

Jakarta
Three bodies lie on the street next to a damaged police post after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta on January 14, 2016. Pic/AFP

Police said five attackers and two civilians were killed, while 10 people were injured in the brazen attacks, which followed several warnings in recent weeks by police that Islamic militants were planning something big. It was unclear if any perpetrators remained at large. Five hours after the major downtown street in Jakarta - not far from the presidential palace and the US Embassy - turned into a battleground, police declared the area near the Sarinah shopping mall secure.

"We believe there are no more attackers around Sarinah. We have taken control," Jakarta police spokesman Col. Muhammad Iqbal said. Gen. Anton Charilyan, a national police spokesman, said the attack involved an unknown number of assailants with grenades and guns. He said they imitated the recent 'terror acts' in Paris and were likely from the Islamic State group, but gave no evidence.

The first explosion was reported at 10:50 am in the car park of the Starbucks at the Skyline building adjacent to Sarinah, and was followed by six more blasts over the next 10 minutes, including at the police post at the intersection of Jalan Thamrin and Jalan K.H. Wahid Hasyim, according to witnesses, the Jakarta Globe reported.

Police have cordoned off the area and most of Jalan Thamrin where the gunbattle is going on.

Police were also seen entering the McDonald's restaurant at the Sarinah building at around 12:15 pm with gun shots still ringing out in the area.

Indonesia police chief General Badrodin Haiti said security at the presidential palace has been beefed up after explosions and fire exchanges with attackers in the heart of the capital city.

"Yes, there are more deployment of force (in the palace)," Badrodin said, but he did not go into details on either the number or the security measures taken at the palace to respond to the attacks.

Police chase suspects thought to be hiding at a cafe. Pic/AFP

The strikes occurred after police got warning that the Islamic State (IS) group would launch attacks in Indonesia, Charliyan told reporters.

"It is clear that from the warning given by IS group that Indonesia will have a concert, Indonesia will be an international news," he said.

Therefore, "we have given warning too" of the possible strikes, and conducted arrests of several militants in many places in the country, Charliyan said.

Jakarta

Indonesian police take position behind a vehicle as they pursue suspects after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta on January 14, 2016. Photo: AFP

The TV reported that at least 14 people were involved in the shootout with police. A witness said that among those killed in the incident was a foreigner.

JakartaIndonesian police secure the area outside a damaged Starbucks coffee shop after a series of explosions hit central Jakarta. Pic/AFP

The TV also reported that another explosion occurred in Palmerah, west Jakarta.

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