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Jailed Indonesian cleric named suspect in deadly 2016 attack

JAKARTA: A jailed Indonesian cleric has been named as a suspect in a suicide bomb attack that killed eight people in Jakarta last year and was claimed by the Islamic State group, police said. They said Aman Abdurrahman is suspected of masterminding the attack in January 2016, which killed four attackers and four civilians. “He has been officially named a suspect in the Thamrin attack,” national police spokesman Setyo Wasisto, referring to the street where it took place. “We already have sufficient evidence about his involvement in the attack.” The assault — the first claimed by IS in Southeast Asia — saw dramatic scenes as a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Starbucks and security forces battled gun-toting militants. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has long struggled with Islamic militancy and has been hit by a series of attacks in the past 15 years, including the 2002 Bali bombings that left 202 people dead. A crackdown has weakened the most dangerous networks but fears have grown of a resurgence in militancy after hundreds of Indonesians flocked to the Middle East in recent years to join IS. The country has seen a surge in plots and attacks linked to the jihadists over the past year. Despite being in prison since 2010, Abdurrahman has recruited militants to join IS, according to the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis and Conflict. He is thought to have been in communication with leaders of the jihadist group and is the main translator for IS propaganda in Indonesia, it has said. The cleric was detained by counter-terrorism police on August 12, five days before he was due for release from Nusakambangan high-security prison where he was serving a sentence for raising funds for a training camp in Aceh.

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