JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said the militant who died in a suicide bombing Tuesday outside police headquarters in the city of Solo was linked to a leading figure among the Indonesian radicals with the Islamic State group in Syria.
One policeman sustained minor injuries in the attack that unfolded about 7.30 a.m. local time as the attacker, provisionally identified by police as 30-year-old Nur Rohman, tried to enter the police complex on his motorbike.
National police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti said Rohman evaded arrest in a police counter-terrorism operation in late 2015 and belonged to a militant group whose members included Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian in Syria who police say coordinated the Jan. 14 attack in the Indonesian capital Jakarta that killed eight people including four militants.
An official with the police's anti-terror squad said Naim and Rohman had been neighbors in Solo. Both were influenced by the radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who was the spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah militants responsible for the 2002 bombings on the tourist island of Bali that killed 202 people.
Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on Islamic militants since the Bali tragedy. Militant networks have been weakened and recent attacks have been small in scale but ideological inspiration from the Islamic State group has provided the impetus for some local radicals to regroup.
The Solo attack occurred a day before predominantly Muslim Indonesia, and Muslims worldwide, celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month.
"This was done by terrorism networks that continue to regenerate," said Maj. Gen. Condro Kirono, chief of Central Java Police. "Whether it is an old or new network will be revealed by the investigation," he said.
TV footage showed a limited amount of damage on the street and the attacker's partially destroyed motorcycle.
Solo, the hometown of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, is known as a hotbed of Islamic radicalism in Java, one of Indonesia's main islands. The city is home to the fundamentalist Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school founded by Bashir, which produced a generation of violent militants.
Kirono said a bomb squad combed the area around police headquarters for explosives and extra security precautions will be taken for Wednesday's Eid al-Fitr prayers in the city.
Jokowi condemned the violence and called on Indonesians to be calm but vigilant during Eid.
Niniek Karmini contributed.