Indonesian police arrest leader of network with ties to Al-Qaeda

Indonesian police said on July 1 they had arrested the leader of Al Qaeda-linked extremist network Jemaah Islamiyah. (AFP)
Updated 02 July 2019

Indonesian police arrest leader of network with ties to Al-Qaeda

  • Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism squad was created in the wake of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people
  • Security forces were seen as being successful in breaking up militant networks

JAKARTA: Indonesian police have arrested the leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network linked to Al-Qaeda, authorities said on Tuesday, on suspicion of recruiting members and sending them to Syria to train with extremist groups.
Counter-terrorism police also arrested at least four other suspects linked to Para Wijayanto, who experts say was a student of Abu Bakar Basyir, accused of being the mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.
Wijayanto, who had been on the run since 2003 and had trained with militants in the southern Philippines, was arrested with his wife on Saturday on the outskirts of Jakarta, the capital.
“Jemaah Islamiyah remains a threat because their grand strategy is still to establish a caliphate,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told Reuters.
Indonesia’s elite counter-terrorism squad, Densus 88, was created in the wake of the 2002 Bali bombings to quash JI and similar groups in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Security forces were seen as being successful in breaking up militant networks after key figures like Basyir were rounded up and jailed, but many went underground.
“There are still many JI members, and after the fall of Osama bin Laden, they became sleeper cells,” said Stanislaus Riyanta, a terrorism analyst based in Jakarta.
“The fall of Islamic State may have left a gap for JI to rise again.”
Indonesia scrambled to tighten its anti-terrorism laws after a series of suicide bombings killed more than 30 people in the East Java city of Surabaya last year. Hundreds of people have been detained under the new laws since the beginning of 2019.


US consular staff in Turkey quizzed over video that ‘mocked Islam’

Updated 19 min 53 sec ago

US consular staff in Turkey quizzed over video that ‘mocked Islam’

  • The video, which spread online, showed a women mocking “Zamzam” water
  • The prosecutor said those detained were two employees from the consulate aged 30 and 38

ISTANBUL: Turkish police questioned two local staffers from a US consulate in Turkey Wednesday over a Halloween party video accused of “denigrating religious values,” news agency DHA reported.
The pair, who work at the consulate in the southern city of Adana, were taken in for questioning and later released, the local prosecutor told DHA.
It followed a video, which spread online, showing a women mocking “Zamzam” water, which is considered holy because it is drawn from a well in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
A man, dressed as a pious Muslim, advises her to drink a cocktail.
The prosecutor said those detained were two employees from the consulate aged 30 and 38.
A number of issues have strained relations between Ankara and Washington, including Turkey’s offensive last month against Kurdish militants in Syria, who were a close ally of the US against the Daesh group.
There was also a row over the arrest of several Turks working for US diplomatic outposts following the attempted coup of 2016.
One employee, Metin Topuz from the Istanbul consulate, is still in jail pending his trial on espionage charges.
In January, a staffer at the Adana consulate, Hamza Ulucay, was freed after nearly two years in pre-trial detention over alleged links to the Gulenist movement that Turkey blames for the attempted coup.