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Blasts hit Jakarta bus terminal

Two suspected suicide bombers struck a crowded public transport terminal in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The attack occurred days before the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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Two suspected suicide bomb blasts killed three police officers and wounded ten people, including five police officers, at a bus terminal in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Television pictures showed smoke rising from the Kampung Melayu terminal as police cordoned off the area.

National Police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said that after investigating the scene it had been determined there were two suicide bombers, instead of one as original believed. Both the bombers were killed. 

The police were guarding a parade ahead of Ramadan, which started on Friday. 

"The police officers were on duty to guard a group of people who were holding a parade. The parade hadn't passed yet when the blast happened," Wasisto said at a news conference.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country. 

On Friday, the so-called "Islamic State" extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack. 

Indonesian police arrested three suspects for alleged involvement in the blasts. They were detained at three different sites in Bandung, the capital of West Java province, police spokesman Yusri Yunus said on Friday. "The roles of each individual and their group are still being investigated," he said. 

Jakarta threatens to 'clobber' extremists

Increasing Islamic militancy spread from the Middle East has raised concerns over Indonesia's traditionally moderate form of Islam.

Indonesia has been hit by a series of Islamic militant attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings, in which 202 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed.

A gun and suicide attack in Jakarta in January last year, which left left four attackers and four civilians dead, was the first assault claimed by the Islamic State group in Southeast Asia.

President Joko Widodo said on Wednesday authorities would "clobber" any religious group threatening the country's moderate Islam and tradition of pluralism. 

Earlier this month officials said they would close down Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia, a hardline Islamist group that calls for sharia law. 

Another group, the Islamic Defenders' Forum (FPI), led rallies against Jakarta's former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama that polarized the nation. A Chinese Christian, he was sentenced to two years in prison this month for insulting the Quran.

FPI helped to swing last month's election that saw Purnama lose to a Muslim challenger. 

Prosecutors are challenging the sentencing which was higher than the one-year suspended sentence they had recommended. 

Purnama's supporters have been holding rallies against his conviction. 

cw/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

 

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