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Indonesians slipping 'under the radar' to join IS in Syria', police chief says

by October 20, 2016 General

The Indonesian police chief says it is increasingly difficult to track the number of people leaving for Syria, saying “tricky” routes are being used to get there.

Police said almost 500 Indonesians have gone to join the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, but the police general has all but admitted the figure could be higher, with many others slipping “under the radar”.

However, the greater concern for security and intelligence bodies in the majority Muslim nation is those who are returning home.

The ABC has gained access to an intelligence list detailing potential attack sites, where a total of 34 potential terrorist targets are listed.

The list, which is dated in July, was only given to the ABC recently and there is no way of verifying if some of the threats have now been diminished or removed.

It identified the Soekarno Hatta International Airport, Jakarta’s city hall, the Russian and Iranian embassies in the Indonesian capital, the Jakarta Intercultural School in Pondok Indah in South Jakarta as well as foreigners in Bali and Senggigi Beach in Lombok.

A plan to attack the police headquarters in Solo, where a suicide bomber blew himself up in early July, killing only himself, is also detailed.

Also on the list is a plan to attack the middle eastern community in Bogor, the West Java police headquarters, westerners in the affluent Jakarta suburb of Menteng and the Bima police station.

IS supporters ‘never run out of ideas’

Sofyan Tsauri, a terrorist released from jail this year after serving 10 years behind bars and said to now be de-radicalised, has warned supporters of IS in Indonesia were ill-prepared, but their spirits were high.

“They never run out of ideas, because they are always supported and supplied information from Syria,” he told the ABC.

“There are five ISIS groups in Indonesia, each of them are trying to state their existence, they want their group to be remembered as the greatest group.”

Indonesian police chief Tito Karnavian said police were aware that Indonesians were still leaving for Syria.

“They use many tricky routes and ways,” Mr Karnavian said.

“We are doing measures in the airports, we have a monitoring team from the intelligence unit especially on the routes we know have been used often.

“We have arrested more than 10 in recent months, but more have slipped under the radar.”

He said authorities were closely monitoring about 40 who have returned.

Propaganda videos ‘mesmerise’ Indonesians to leave the country

Mr Tsauri, who was jailed for firearms offences and linked to a terrorist training camp in Aceh, said the number of IS supporters was increasing.

“The reason why ISIS has wide support from the ‘newbie’ — the new recruit — is firstly the visualisation of the group, the propaganda videos which have mesmerised them to leave the country, secondly the logistic support because of the financial strength,” he said.

Police have arrested dozens of suspects on terrorism charges this year, and said they have foiled numerous attacks, including most recently a plan to attack Singapore from Batam Island.

Yesterday, an Indonesian man in his early 20s placed an IS sticker on a police traffic post in Jakarta’s western outskirts before attacking police with a machete. No-one was killed.