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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 July 2018

ISIS claims Indonesia police station assault that killed officer

Group used samurai swords in Riau on Sumatra island

A security vehicle drives along a road after an attack at the Riau police headquarters in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, on May 16, 2018, in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Raymond Alex Siregar / Reuters
A security vehicle drives along a road after an attack at the Riau police headquarters in Pekanbaru, Sumatra, on May 16, 2018, in this still image taken from video obtained from social media. Raymond Alex Siregar / Reuters

Four men were shot and killed in an ISIS-claimed attack,on an Indonesian police headquarters that left one officer dead and two wounded, authorities said on Wednesday.

It came days after a wave of deadly suicide bombings in another part of the country.

ISIS said it was behind the assault in a statement published on its self-proclaimed news agency Amaq. It offered no evidence in support of the claim.

The group drove a minivan into a gate at the station in Riau on Sumatra island and then attacked officers with samurai swords, according to the country's national police.

"Four have been shot to death and one fled," said spokesman Setyo Wasisto.

The fifth suspect was later arrested, he said.

Television images showed what was reportedly the bodies of four suspects lying on the ground.

Local police initially said they had killed three people and wounded another.

Media said one attacker may have had a bomb strapped to his body but police did not immediately confirm the reports.

The attack comes as the south-east Asian nation has been subjected to a series of deadly attacks on churches and a police station, involving multiple suicide bombings carried out by families, including young children.

It was not clear if Wednesday's incident was linked to the earlier attacks in Surabaya, Indonesia's second biggest city, which have also been claimed by ISIS.

One local journalist at the scene sustained minor injuries in the attack, police said. Media were at the station to cover a press conference about a drug arrest when the attack happened.

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Police have been frequent targets of mostly low-level attacks by local militants, including a 2017 suicide bombing at a bus station in Jakarta that killed three officers.

Indonesia, which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months and an IMF-World Bank meeting in Bali in October, has long struggled with Islamist militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed over 200 people — mostly foreign tourists — in the country's worst terrorist attack.

This week's violence puts pressure on politicians to pass a stalled security law that would give police more power to take pre-emptive action against people suspected of planning terrorist attacks.

Indonesia's elite anti-terrorist force Densus 88 has responded with a series of raids in which several suspected militants have been shot dead — including the deputy commander of the local chapter of extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (Jad), believed responsible for many of the attacks.