Isis has reportedly claimed responsibility for the Jakarta attacks in a statement released through one of its allied propaganda agencies. 

“Islamic State fighters carried out an armed attack this morning targeting foreign nationals and the security forces charged with protecting them in the Indonesian capital,” Aamaaq news agency said on its Telegram channel.

Seven people, including five suspected attackers, died in suicide bombings and shootings in the Indonesian capital on Thursday morning.

Militants targeted the Sarinah shopping centre, on Thamrin Street, which houses a McDonalds and other multinational brands.

A Starbucks, Pizza hut and Burger King lie across the road next to the Djakarta Theater XXI cinema, while the five-star Sari Pan Pacific Jakarta hotel is the next building along and United Nations and government offices are also nearby.

There has been no official confirmation of Isis’ claim but police previously said they believed militants had been “imitating” the November attacks in Paris.

“They imitated the terror actions in Paris...they are likely from the (Islamic State) group,” Genral Anton Charliyan said.

He told reporters that officers had received information in late November containing a threat from Isis to carry out large-scale attacks in the country.

It sparked huge police operations around New Year’s Eve and deputy police chief Budi Gunawan said tight security during celebrations may have forced terrorists to move the attack to today.

Isis reportedly threatened to put the country in its “spotlight” last year.

George Brandis, Australia’s Attorney-General, said last month that the so-called Islamic State had “ambitions to elevate its presence and level of activity in Indonesia”, either directly or through affiliates.

“Isis has a declared intention to establish caliphates beyond the Middle East, provincial caliphates in effect,” he added. “It has identified Indonesia as a location of its ambitions.”

Previous terror attacks in Indonesia have been carried out by the Jemaah Islamiyah group, which was linked to al-Qaeda.

Its militants were behind explosions at two Jakarta hotels that killed seven people in 2009 and the 2002 bombings at a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists.

Like Isis, Jemaah Islamiyah, also aims to establish an Islamic “caliphate” in south-east Asian countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

Courtesy The Independent