Soon after Australia’s Attorney General expressed concerns about the Islamic State forming a “distant caliphate” in Indonesia — the world’s most heavily populated Muslim-majority country — it was reported that a group of terrorism suspects arrested over the weekend may have received funding from ISIS in Syria.
“They received transfers of funds… they have a connection with Syria,” said national police spokesman Anton Charliyan, as reported by Reuters. “What we gather so far is they are linked to the ISIS group. They got the money from a senior ISIS figure who works as a coordinator to link ISIS to Indonesia.”
A total of nine detentions resulted from raids across five cities on the island of Java, along with the seizure of bomb materials, electronic components, and books about jihad.
Reuters says Indonesian authorities believe they may have foiled a plot to attack New Year’s celebrations. The prospective targets were Shia Muslims living on Java and Sumatra. The vast majority of Indonesian Muslims are Sunni.
Police spokesman Charliyan also said the militants “appeared to be planning attacks on certain public locations, government and police officials and ‘those considered enemies of ISIS’, but gave no details,” according to the Reuters report. A force of 150,000 security personnel will be deployed to protect Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
“This terrorist network was preparing for bombing attacks in various locations in Indonesia,” said Indonesian National Police Chief Badrodin Haiti, as reported by the UK Express. “Some are ISIS members and others are sympathizers.”
Reuters notes that information provided by the American FBI and Australian Federal Police assisted Indonesian authorities in carrying out the weekend raids.