ISIS claims deadly attacks in Jakarta

At least seven people - five attackers and two civilians - were killed in Jakarta

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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) officially in postings on Twitter accounts claimed on Thursday its first attack in the heart of Jakarta on Thursday that brought the radical group’s violence to the world’s most populous Muslim country for the first time.

At least seven people -- five attackers and two civilians -- were killed as militants launched suicide, shooting and bombing attacks that tore through a Starbucks cafe and shook an embassy district in the Muslim-majority nation.

In a statement published online, ISIS said that a number of bombs “detonated at the same time as attacks from four soldiers of the caliphate... with light weapons and suicide belts.”

The statement said the attacks targeted a gathering of citizens from the “Crusader coalition,” referring to the U.S.-led alliance of countries combatting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Five extremists launched Thursday’s assault in the heart of the Indonesian capital, apparently copying the Paris attacks as they detonated explosives and shot at people in a district packed with malls, embassies and United Nations offices.

Before the official statement, a news agency allied to ISIS said the militant group was behind the attacks in Jakarta earlier on Thursday.

“ISIS fighters carried out an armed attack this morning targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital,” Aamaaq news agency said on its Telegram channel.

Reuters photographer Darren Whiteside, who was near the Starbucks when the blast went off, said debris was strewn about the street 30-40 meters in front of the café and he saw a police officer’s body being dragged away.

Police declared the attack over after several hours, and said no more assailants were on the loose.

3 suicide bombers, 2 assailants

Anton Charliyan, national police spokesman, said three suicide bombers and two other assailants armed with pistols carried out the attacks, which he said began with a suspected suicide bombing at a Starbucks opposite a major shopping mall.

As explosion occurred, two armed assailants were waiting outside.

Two men then took hostages at the Starbucks, an Algerian and a Dutch citizen, and shot the Dutch national dead.

An Indonesian tried to help but was shot dead, he said. The Algerian was wounded.

After hearing a blast, police officers headed to the area and killed the attackers.

“Soon afterwards, two men riding a motorbike dropped their motorbikes, ran into a police post and blew themselves up,” he said.

Four police officers were inside and are now in critical condition, Charliyan said.

As well as the suicide bombers, four explosive devices were detonated during the attacks -- one in Starbucks, after the suicide bombing, and during a shootout between police and the assailants.

“There are two more bombs that we suspected they wanted to blow up, two big ones,” he said.

MetroTV said, quoting a police official also said a Canadian man was among those killed in the attacks.

ISIS cryptic warning

The attack comes after ISIS threats to put the country in its “spotlight.”

Before the ISIS news agency affiliate claiming the attack, the Jakarta police chief said that the group is “definitely” behind the attack.

“ISIS is behind this attack definitely,” Tito Karnavian told reporters.

Karnavian said Indonesian ISIS fighter Bahrun Naim, who is believed to be in Syria, was “planning this for a while. He is behind this attack.”

Charliyan earlier told AFP that “there is a strong suspicion that this is an ISIS-linked group in Indonesia.”

“From what we see today, this group is following the pattern of the Paris attacks.”

ISIS claimed a series of coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris in November that left 130 people dead.

Charliyan said that the group had earlier issued a cryptic warning, saying there would be a “concert in Indonesia,” which had prompted police to beef up security ahead of New Year celebrations.

Police foiled a series of terror plots in December, including some believed linked to ISIS.

Hundreds of Indonesians are feared to have travelled abroad to join the self-proclaimed caliphate of the ISIS, and scores have since returned, raising concerns they could launch attacks on home soil.

(With agencies)