[Jones] Recent Indonesian attacks reveal ISIS tactics going forward

[Jones] Recent Indonesian attacks reveal ISIS tactics going forward

Opinion
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[New York Times] A sudden spate of terrorist attacks in Indonesia during the past few weeks offers insights into how supporters of the Islamic State around the world are reacting to the group’s defeats in the Middle East.

VIDEO: [Heritage Foundation] The Future of Extremism after the Fall of ISIS


The damage caused by ISIS was expected to last longer than its caliphate proper, and in Indonesia the group’s impact already seems to have been to expand and transform local extremist movements. Local Islamist extremists still go after the same targets: religious minorities and law enforcement. But their tactics have shifted: Now women and children are participating in suicide attacks.

Since the beginning of May, at least 49 Indonesians — 12 civilians, seven police officers and 30 terrorists — have died in back-to-back attacks by ISIS supporters or government antiterrorism operations.

The series began on May 8 when pro-ISIS inmates staged a riot at a detention facility at the paramilitary police’s headquarters south of Jakarta. By the time the uprising ended, five police officers (and one detainee) had been killed.

More shocking still are three instances last week of suicide bombings carried out by families, including children.

On May 13, six members of the same family attacked three churches in Surabaya, East Java. The father went after one; his teenage sons went after another; and his wife and two daughters, age 12 and 9, blew themselves up at the third. Twelve congregants died.

That evening, a mother and her 17-year-old son were killed in Sidoarjo, East Java, apparently when a bomb the father was making prematurely exploded. (The father was injured in the blast and killed by police officers when they arrived at the scene.)

On May 14, a couple, two teenage sons and a daughter tried to bomb police headquarters in Surabaya. Only the daughter, 8, survived.

These three families knew one another and regularly attended lectures given by an Indonesian Muslim preacher who was arrested in Turkey in 2017 and deported back home after trying, along with more than a dozen relatives and friends, to join ISIS in Syria for almost a year.

Nearly every day this month there has been a new attack, an attempted attack or an operation to prevent an attack. On May 15, a counterterrorism squad in Medan, in the northern part of Sumatra, shot two suspected terrorists, killing one. The next day, four men rammed a car into the gate of the police’s headquarters in Pekanbaru, also on Sumatra, and then assaulted officers with long swords. One officer died, and the four attackers were shot and killed.

This article continues at [New York Times] How ISIS Has Changed Terrorism in Indonesia

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