Indonesian police said on Thursday, March 14 they had uncovered a huge cache of explosives linked to a terror suspect whose wife they said killed herself and at least one child in an explosion following a dramatic standoff at their home.
The discovery of bombs and bomb-making materials in the couple’s home and another in the same city raised fears that a major attack was being planned, a month before national elections and less than a year after Indonesia was rocked by a wave of deadly suicide bombings.
“A total of 300 kg [660 lbs] of bombs and bomb-making materials were discovered,” national police spokesperson Dedi Prasetyo said.
Police later destroyed materials in a controlled explosion in a field.
The suicide blast early Wednesday morning came after police had arrested the husband, Abu Hamzah, who was identified as a member of Jamaah Anshar Daulah.
The arrest of Hamzah, who police said was a skilled bomb maker, came days after authorities arrested two other terror suspects in other parts of the country. Police said all three were connected.
The Islamic State-linked jihadist network has been blamed for attacks last May in Indonesia’s second-biggest city, Surabaya, the deadliest in years to rock the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation.
Officers surrounded Abu Hamzah’s home in Sibolga on Sumatra island, starting an almost 12-hour standoff, during which the wife threw an explosive device at security personnel, wounding a police officer, authorities said.
They later found parts of a woman’s corpse and that of at least one child. Police initially said they thought two of the couple’s children might have been killed.
“We’re still trying to formally identify his wife because the body isn’t one piece,” Prasetyo said.
Last May, two families carried out attacks at churches in Surabaya, killing a dozen people and children of the attackers, including two young girls whose parents brought them to the bombings.
The following day a family carried out a suicide bomb attack on a police headquarters in Surabaya.
In July, an Indonesian court proscribed JAD, bolstering the powers of police to go after the group.
On Thursday, a Jakarta court sentenced several militants linked to the Surabaya bombings with prison sentences ranging from about three to 10 years.
Indonesia has seen a string of deadly attacks since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed more than 200 people including scores of tourists.
With reporting from AFP