Just a couple of weeks after ISIS called on jihadists to conduct random stabbings in their countries, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a knife attack on police officers just west of Jakarta.
The attack happened during Thursday morning rush hour along a tree-lined, riverfront street near a high school in an area of well-developed Tangerang.
Police had not publicly identified the attacker, but said he was an unemployed 22-year-old carrying multiple knives. He was shot three times in the legs by officers and later died from his wounds.
“The suspect attacked wildly using a dagger and he was also throwing two sticks resembling explosive devices,” Jakarta Police spokesman Awi Setiyono said, according to The Jakarta Post. Two of the policemen were stabbed in the abdomen while the third was struck in his back and arm.
Setiyono said the man “suddenly stuck an IS logo sticker on a traffic police post, took a machete from his bag and blindly attacked our personnel.”
The terrorist reportedly had two brothers on the police force.
“Indonesian police officer and 2 other policemen wounded in an attack with blade weapons carried out by a fighter of the Islamic State in the city of Tangerang,” reported ISIS’ Amaq news agency.
Amaq frequently issues the first official claims from ISIS, including after the Orlando nightclub attack.
ISIS’ Al-Furat media released Thursday a video in Indonesian and Arabic featuring Indonesian ISIS members and encouraging them to migrate to the caliphate.
It was also the day one Indonesian terrorist was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for making a bomb used in the January ISIS attack in Jakarta, while another received a 4-year sentence for procuring weapons used by assailants in the assault. Asked if he accepted the court’s decision, the latter said, “That’s the risk of being a terrorist, I accept the verdict,” followed by “Allahu Akbar.”
Indonesia is no stranger to attacks from Islamic extremists; in August, a 60-year-old Catholic priest was attacked during Mass in Medan by an 18-year-old wielding an ax and claiming not to be acting alone. The priest survived with a cut to the arm. The terrorist reportedly first attempted to detonate a suicide bomb but it fizzled.
Keeping in mind the things that can malfunction when some jihadists try to build bombs, an ISIS magazine earlier this month recommended that adherents without training embrace stabbing campaigns.
ISIS’ Rumiyah magazine suggested a “campaign of knife attacks” in which the attacker “could dispose of his weapon after each use, finding no difficulty in acquiring another one.”
The article suggested avoiding large crowds and targeting smaller groups or individuals in quiet neighborhoods — “one should consider canals, riversides, and beaches.” The magazine also encouraged jihadists to aim for major organs, arteries or the neck, but not the skull lest their knife blade accidentally break.
In order to ensure proper attribution, “it is essential to leave some kind of evidence or insignia identifying the motive and allegiance to the Khalifah, even if it is something as simple as a note pinned or attached to the victim’s body,” the terror guide added.
Jihadists were told to plan their attacks in such a way that they “attain a reasonable kill count,” and to bear in mind “the more gruesome the attack, the closer one comes to achieving the desired objective” of inflicting terror.
Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of Combined Joint Forces’ Land Component Command for Operation Inherent Resolve and commander of the 101st Airborne, told reporters via video from Baghdad on Wednesday that the offensive to take Mosul back from ISIS could encourage a wave of attacks elsewhere as the terror group tries to not look wounded.
“I expect that they’re going to go into an insurgency mode and they’ll try to do these high-profile, spectacular attacks to draw attention away from the losses that they’re suffering,” Volesky said. “I mean, we’ve seen them do that before. When they lose terrain in Iraq, there’s — they try to do a spectacular attack to tell everybody, you know, they’re still a relevant organization.”
During the battle to retake Ramadi from ISIS, which the Islamic State lost in February, terrorist attacks attributed to ISIS included the October 2015 downing of a Metrojet flying from Sharm El Sheikh to St. Petersburg, the November terror spree by an ISIS cell in Paris, the December attack in San Bernardino, and the January attacks on a Starbucks and police station in Jakarta.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the start of the Mosul offensive last Sunday.