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Indonesian bomber killed in shootout after Bandung explosion

Indonesian police have shot dead a suspected militant in the West Java capital of Bandung after setting off a small bomb in a public park. Authorities have said the attack had possible links to the "Islamic State."

The hour-long firefight followed a small explosion at around 8:30 a.m. local time (0130 UTC), which witnesses said came from a bomb made from a pressure cooker. 

The attacker, believed to be in his 30s or 40s allegedly fled the scene into a building belonging to local authorities where he was shot. After sustaining serious injuries to the stomach, the suspect later died in hospital. No other injuries were reported in the bombing.

Motive to release suspects

West Java police chief Anton Charliyan said they believe the motive behind the attack was to force the release of prisoners held by the police anti-terror unit.

"The motive is to free suspects that are in Densus (Indonesia's anti-terrorism unit) custody," Charliyan told reporters. It was not immediately clear if the suspect had acted alone.

Indonesian police

The attacker was killed after a one-hour standoff in a building belonging to local authorities

"Preliminary information shows that he was apparently under the monitoring of the anti-terror squad as he was suspected of links to an alleged extremist group," Charliyan said.

Asked which network the attacker was from, the police chief said there is a "possibility of JAD."

Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) is an umbrella organization that Indonesian authorities estimate includes hundreds of "Islamic State" (IS) sympathizers in Indonesia.

Fight against 'IS'

Indonesia, a secular state with the world's largest Muslim population, has long struggled with Islamic militancy. It has suffered a series of attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, most of whom were foreign tourists.

Despite an ongoing crackdown which has successfully weakened the most dangerous networks, the emergence of IS has proved to be a potent new rallying cry for the country's radicals with hundreds having flocked to the Middle East in recent years to fight alongside the jihadists.

Following several botched or foiled attacks, however, analysts say that many Indonesian militants lack the capacity to launch a serious attack.

ksb/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)