Suicide bomber attacks Indonesian police station

AFP, Monday 3 Jun 2013

In the first suicide attack in Indonesia in a decade, an Islamist militant blew himself up in a police station compound leaving one person injured

A suspected Islamic militant riding a motorbike blew himself up in an Indonesian police station compound on Monday, injuring a construction worker but no police, officials said.

The suicide bomber -- believed to be linked to the country's most wanted terror suspect -- launched the attack after forcing his way into police headquarters in Poso, a town on Sulawesi island known for militant attacks.

It was the first suicide attack in Indonesia, which has been waging a campaign against Islamist terror groups for over a decade, since September 2011 when a bomber injured dozens in an attack on a Central Java church.

"A civilian forced himself into the police station on his motorbike and blew himself up," said local police spokesman Soemarno, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, adding no one was killed other than the attacker.

The attacker burst through the gates of the police compound and detonated the explosives in an open courtyard near a mosque, he said.

Soemarno initially said that no one was hurt in the attack, but later confirmed a construction worker in the area received a minor injury to his left hand.

A police source said the man was suspected of being part of an Islamist terror group headed by Santoso, Indonesia's most wanted militant, that hides out in the jungles around Poso and is suspected of carrying out a series of recent attacks.

The blast comes after police arrested more than 20 suspects and killed eight in a series of raids last month, including some who were suspected of raising funds for Santoso's group.

As the motorcyclist drove into the compound, there was a small explosion -- possibly a detonator -- followed by a larger blast, said Suhardi Alius, a national police spokesman.

The explosion caused minor damage to some cars and broke windows, said Poso police chief Susnadi, who also goes by one name.

The bomb was homemade and consisted of nails packed into a plastic lunch box, he added.

As well as being a militant hideout, the area around Poso was also the site of sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians between the late 1990s and mid-2000s that left thousands dead.

Indonesia has waged a crackdown on terror groups over the past decade following attacks against Western targets, including the 2002 Bali bombings -- a campaign that has been credited with weakening key networks.

Recent attacks have tended to be low-impact and target Indonesian security forces.

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