WEB DESK: Gunfire and explosions in the Indonesian capital Jakarta killed at least four people Thursday, with police flooding the streets amid fears gun-toting militants were still on the run.
Badly mangled bodies were seen lying on the streets as security forces moved in, with regular reports of gunfire and warnings of snipers in the area.
“Four people died, one police officer and three civilians,” national police spokesman Anton Charliyan told AFP.
“For now the gunfire has stopped but they are still on the run, we are afraid there will be more gunshots.”
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major bomb attacks by Islamic radicals between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people.
A security crackdown weakened the most dangerous extremist networks, leading to a long lull in large-scale strikes. However, the emergence of Islamic State has raised concern that Indonesians returning from Middle East battlefields could stage attacks on home soil.
– ‘Loud bang’ –
As well as the known deaths, a number of people were feared injured in Thursday’s assault, with an eyewitness telling AFP he had seen a “terrorist” open fire on a local journalist.
Ruli Koestaman, 32, who had been in a meeting in a nearby building, said the attack started around 10:35am (0335 GMT).
“Then I heard a loud bang, boom. It felt like an earthquake. We all went downstairs,” he said.
“We then saw that the Starbucks downstairs was destroyed too. I saw a foreigner, Westerner, a man, with a mangled hand but alive.
“A Starbucks waiter then ran out with blood coming out of his ear. And I asked anyone hurt inside, he said yes, one. Dead already.
“Then everybody gathered and a terrorist appeared. He had a gun and started shooting at us and then at Starbucks. Then the police post… exploded.”
Koestaman said the attacker shot at a reporter who was at the scene.
“Police then started to shoot at the guy, who kept reloading his gun. And then there was another explosion. Then shootings.”