TANGERANG, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said three suspected militants who were planning a New Year’s Eve attack were killed in a raid Wednesday on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta.
National Police spokesman Rikwanto said a residential neighborhood has been evacuated after bombs were found in a house rented by the men.
Rikwanto said the three men killed had thrown explosives at police after refusing an appeal from authorities to surrender and come out of the house, which is in a leafy residential compound in Tangerang, a Jakarta satellite city. Another man, who was arrested in the neighborhood, had led police to the house used by the militants.
“Every year, Christmas and New Year’s events are the target of terrorists to carry out amaliyah,” Rikwanto told a press conference, using an Arabic term that’s a byword for suicide bombing in militant circles.
Rikwanto, who uses one name, said police believe those involved in the plot are linked to several militants arrested Dec. 10 on the outskirts of Jakarta who were planning a suicide bomb attack on a guard-changing ceremony at the presidential palace the next day.
Police have said that foiled plot, in which a woman was to be the suicide bomber, was orchestrated by Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian with the Islamic State group in Syria. They also say Naim was behind a bomb lab that was raided last month in West Java and contained enough explosive materials to make bombs three times more powerful than those used in the 2002 Bali bombings.
Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since the Bali bombings that killed 202 people.
But a new threat has emerged in the past several years from militants who have switched allegiance to the Islamic State group and from new recruits.
An attack in Jakarta in January by IS sympathizers killed eight people, including the attackers.
The Australian government’s advice to travelers, updated Wednesday, said the terrorist threat level in Indonesia remains high. It notes that authorities have arrested people who were allegedly in the advanced states of attack planning.
Awi Setiyono, a police spokesman, said that one of the slain militants, who he named as Omen, was a convicted murderer who was radicalized in prison by a militant who had plotted an attack against the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta in 2013.
The two other slain men were members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, an extremist group led by radical cleric Aman Abdurrahman.
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