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At least four dead in Jakarta explosions, shooting


Jakarta : Gunfire and explosions in the Indonesian capital Jakarta killed at least four people today, with police flooding the streets amid fears gun-toting militants were still on the run.

Witnesses said at least one gunman had attacked a cafe in the city centre — near a cluster of embassies — shooting at bystanders, as a series of explosions rocked the area.

Badly mangled bodies were seen lying on the streets as security forces moved in, with regular reports of gunfire and warnings of snipers in the area.

“Four people died, one police officer and three civilians,” national police spokesman Anton Charliyan told AFP.

“For now the gunfire has stopped but they are still on the run, we are afraid there will be more gunshots.”

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, suffered several major bomb attacks by Islamic radicals between 2000 and 2009, including the 2002 bombings on the resort island of Bali that killed 202 people.

A security crackdown weakened the most dangerous extremist networks, leading to a long lull in large-scale strikes. However, the emergence of Islamic State has raised concern that Indonesians returning from Middle East battlefields could stage attacks on home soil.

As well as the known deaths, a number of people were feared injured in today’s assault, with an eyewitness telling AFP he had seen a “terrorist” open fire on a local journalist.

Ruli Koestaman, 32, who had been in a meeting in a nearby building, said the attack started around 10:35am (local time).

“Then I heard a loud bang, boom. It felt like an earthquake. We all went downstairs,” he said.

“We then saw that the Starbucks downstairs was destroyed too. I saw a foreigner, Westerner, a man, with a mangled hand but alive.

“A Starbucks waiter then ran out with blood coming out of his ear. And I asked anyone hurt inside, he said yes, one. Dead already.

“Then everybody gathered and a terrorist appeared. He had a gun and started shooting at us and then at Starbucks. Then the police post… exploded.”

Koestaman said the attacker shot at a reporter who was at the scene.

“Police then started to shoot at the guy, who kept reloading his gun. And then there was another explosion. Then shootings.”

The blasts — at least six, according to eyewitnesses — were close to a shopping centre, the Sarinah.

Anton Charliyan, national police spokesman, told Metro TV, “This is not a suicide bomb, based on witness account at the police post it was something that was thrown, whether it was a grenade or a bomb we still haven’t been able to confirm.

“Nobody has been arrested”

He said at least one attacker — maybe two — fled afterwards, using a motorbike.

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