THE death toll from the latest anti-terror raids in Indonesia has risen to seven after specialist police unit Densus 88 raided four locations on Wednesday.
Another 13 suspected terrorists were captured alive, according to the national police spokesman, Brigadier General Boy Rafli Amar.
It’s the biggest terror cell to have been exposed since 2010 when police shut down a training camp set up by Abu Bakar Bashir in the jungle in Aceh.
Mr Boy said the seven who died had been involved in fire-fights with police.
The raid in a village near Bandung, south-east of Jakarta, yielded four pipe bombs, 200 rounds of .38 calibre ammunition, 80 rounds of 9mm ammunition and about 6 million rupiah ($A600) in cash.
Mr Boy said police were working on mapping the terror network, and anticipated that there would be more raids. He did not comment on what, if any, attacks the group had planned.
The Indonesian police chief, General Timur Pradopo, had earlier defended the high death toll in the police operation, saying the heavily-armed officers had tried negotiating with the men in the Bandung house for 3 1/2 hours, but the reply was “explosions, gunfire and bombs”.
Security expert Johanes Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the cell was responsible for an attempt last week to plant pipe bombs at the embassy of Myanmar in Jakarta.
Radical preachers including jailed extremist Abu Bakar Bashir have been calling for jihad against Buddhist-majority Myanmar because of the violence there against the Rohingya muslim majority in the country’s east.
Mr Sulaiman told Fairfax Media that the old terror network of the Bali bombings had been fractured by ruthless police work and decimated by arrests. However, their spiritual leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, was still influencing young people with his fiery speeches from the jail where he’s serving 15 years for terror-related offences.
Mr Sulaiman said a talented new jihadist preacher, Aman Abdurrahman, who was linked to Bashir, was inspiring a new and widely dispersed generation of young radicals who were “desperate to do jihad”.
“If you look at the strand (of ideology) most comes from Abu Bakar Bashir — but the new terrorists are not part of the old network,” he said.
“The young people got influenced and they figure they must do quick holy war.”
However, they had not so far developed the discipline, training or networks to mount large-scale attacks.
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