Indonesia’s Security Minister Wiranto was attacked by a knife-wielding man with suspected links to the Islamic State terrorist group, the police said.
Wiranto, a former military chief who uses only one name like many Indonesians, was stabbed twice by the assailant near his vehicle after visiting an Islamic boarding school at Pandeglang in the province of Banten west of Jakarta on Thursday. Wiranto, who was flown to the capital, was in a stable condition and set to undergo surgery, President Joko Widodo told reporters after visiting the minister.
Two other people, including a police officer, were also injured in the attack, Dedi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Police said, adding the police have also detained a woman suspected to be an accomplice of the assailant.
Jokowi, as the president is known, ordered the police and the intelligence agency to take action against all the networks involved in the attack.
Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency chief Budi Gunawan identified the attacker as a man known as Abu Rara, and said he had ties to local terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah. The group was founded by Abu Bakar Bashir, the mastermind of the deadly bombings in Bali in 2002, and has pledged its allegiance to Islamic State.
Investigators had detected some of the attacker’s activities and the police were preparing to arrest the rest of the network, Gunawan told reporters.
Indonesian’s counter terrorism unit Densus 88 was also assisting police with the investigations. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has been the target of a string of terrorist attacks in recent years by extremists inspired by Islamic State.
Police arrested several people, including a university lecturer and retired navy officer last month, over a plot to detonate explosive devices at several locations around Jakarta. They allegedly planned to set off bombs to incite unrest in the lead-up to the swearing in ceremony for Jokowi’s second five-year term on Oct. 20.
In May, police said they had arrested dozens of militants linked to Islamic State who authorities suspected were plotting attacks on political rallies. Militants also launched a wave of attacks, including bombings of churches in Surabaya, the country’s second largest city, in May last year. The attacks killed more than 30 people and prompted the Indonesian parliament to pass tougher anti-terror laws.
Terror attacks in Indonesia in recent years have been more often carried out by smaller cells, families as well as the so-called lone-wolves, making it difficult for the police to detect them, said Stanislaus Riyanta, a Jakarta-based intelligence and terrorism analyst.
“The security forces need to be vigilant” against similar attacks in the coming days as radical groups may turn to violence “for the sake of their ideology,” he said.