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#Jakarta: 4 suspected attackers killed

As many as seven explosions went off & were followed by an intense gun battle.

Indonesian police take position behind a vehicle as they pursue suspects after a series of blasts hit the Indonesia capital Jakarta on 14 January, 2016. Picture: AFP.
Jakarta,Jakarta in Indonesia,Jakarta explosions,Joko Widodo,Joko Jokowi Widodo
World

JOHANNESBURG – Four suspected attackers died in central Jakarta attack after multiple explosions and an intense gun battle.

At least seven people were killed in attacks in and around a shopping district and just several hundred metres from a United Nations office.

A South African man living in Jakarta described to Eyewitness News the tense situation currently unfolding in the Indonesian capital.

“At the moment it's an extremely tense environment. We've instructed all of our staff to reach out to their loved ones to make sure that everyone is okay. Everyone is on the edge, this comes as a bit of a surprise.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has just been on national TV saying the situation is under control, and is calling on people to remain calm.

Jokowi said, “The state, nation and people should not be afraid of, and lose to, such terror acts.”

Police said they suspected a suicide bomber was responsible for at least one of the blasts and up to 14 militant gunmen were involved in the attack, Indonesia's Metro TV reported.

“The Starbucks cafe windows are blown out. I see three dead people on the road. There has been a lull in the shooting but someone is on the roof of the building and police are aiming their guns at him,” said a Reuters photographer.

Indonesia has been on edge in recent weeks over the threat posed by Islamist militants and counter-terrorism police have launched a crackdown on people with suspected links to Islamic State.

“We have previously received a threat from Islamic State that Indonesia will be the spotlight,” police spokesman Anton Charliyan told reporters. But he said police did not know who was responsible.

He said three policemen and three civilians had been killed.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, the vast majority of whom practise a moderate form of the religion.

The country saw a spate of militant attacks in the 2000s, the deadliest of which was a nightclub bombing on the holiday island of Bali that killed 202 people, most of them tourists.

Police have been largely successful in destroying domestic militant cells since then, but officials have more recently been worrying about a resurgence inspired by groups such as Islamic State and Indonesians who return after fighting with the group.

The last major militant attacks in Jakarta were in July 2009, with bombs at the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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