The murderous attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi looks like the trigger mechanism for other Islamist assaults on American diplomatic posts –and al Qaeda may be involved. Over the weekend, 11 suspected Islamist terrorists planning an assault not only on the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, but also other American sites in Indonesia, were arrested before they could mount the attack.
Besides the US Embassy, the head office of American mining company Freeport McMoRan, the US consulate-general in the city of Surabaya in eastern Java, and a police mobile brigade headquarters in Central Java were targeted.
The terrorists were spread over four provinces, according to Indonesian national police spokesman Maj. Gen. Suhardi Alius , who said that the terrorists were well-prepared: “From evidence found at the scene, we believe that this group was well prepared for serious terror attacks,” Alius said.
Among the weapons were bombs, explosive materials, a manual for making bombs, ammunition and a gas cylinder filled with highly explosive material. The terrorists were planning to use the media as well; videos and images of attacks on Muslims in different parts of the world were found in their arsenal.
The suspects belonged to the Harakah Sunni for Indonesian Society, or HASMI. HASMI’s website claims to impose a strict interpretation of Islam, “since all innovation is misguidance.”
International Crisis Group expert Jim Della-Giacoma said that the 11 men arrested had been found with the explosive nitroglycerin. Della-Giacoma said that few terrorists know how to handle nitroglycerin, but al-Qaeda in Indonesia was probably in league with HASMI, as al-Qaeda in Indonesia is run by Badri Hartono, a bomb-making expert, who was recently arrested: ‘‘Badri’s group in Solo that went by the name of al-Qaeda in Indonesia did [have that expertise] and so it is likely those arrested had a relationship with Badri’s group.”
Indonesia has not had a major terror attack since 2009. But since Barack Obama has claimed that he has decimated al-Qaeda, there’s really nothing to worry about.