By Kanupriya Kapoor and Fransiska Nangoy JAKARTA, Oct 20 : A suspected supporter of Islamic State attacked police in Indonesia with a knife today and wounded three of them in what appeared to be the latest violence inspired by the militant group in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.
Indonesian authorities are increasingly worried about a resurgence in radicalism in Southeast Asia’s largest economy, driven in part by a new generation of militants inspired by Islamic State (IS).
Police shot and wounded the attacker after he stabbed three traffic police officers during the rush hour in Tangerang, on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.
An unexploded pipe bomb and a large IS sticker were found near the scene, police said.
“All of a sudden a man brutally attacked our officers with a sharp weapon. The perpetrator was shot in the thigh and leg,” police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar told reporters.
“We suspect the perpetrator is an ISIS sympathizer,” he added, referring to Islamic State.
The police officers and the attacker, who was born in 1994 and unemployed, were being treated in hospital.
The assault comes after a series of Islamic State-linked attacks beginning in January when four militants mounted a gun and bomb attack in Jakarta. Eight people were killed, including the militants.
In July, a militant blew himself up at a police station in the town of Solo, injuring one officer.
Police in August arrested IS supporters plotting to launch a rocket at Singapore’s Marina Bay casino resort area using a boat from the nearby Indonesian island of Batam.
A knife-wielding teen “obsessed” with IS attempted to attack a priest at a church in August.
The vast majority of Indonesia’s 250 million people practise a moderate form of Islam. Small militant groups that have periodically mounted attacks against the state and foreigners have been largely disbanded or driven underground.
In Indonesia’s most serious attack, militants set of explosives at a nightclub on Bali island in 2002 killing 202 people.
Authorities believe Islamic State has more than 1,200 followers in Indonesia and nearly 400 Indonesians have left to join the group in Syria.
Police are on alert in case more Indonesians return home after Iraqi forces this week launched an offensive to take back the IS stronghold of Mosul.
“The war there is affecting our youth here,” Amar said. “We have to be vigilant about parties that are changing the mindset of our youth.” Authorities are monitoring about 40 returnees, concerned they could be linking up with existing networks, police chief Tito Karnavian told Reuters on Monday.