Several people, five terrorists and two civilians, have been killed in a series of multiple explosions and gunfire in the center of Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta. Around 10:50 am local Jakarta time the first explosion occurred near the Sarinah department store on Jalan M.H. Thamrin in Central Jakarta. Previously Indonesian authorities had already received a threat from Islamic State that the country would be in the spotlight of this terrorist organization. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The first explosion was probably caused by a suicide bomber (but taking the lives of two militants). Witnesses also heard five more explosions shortly afterwards. These were presumably hand-grenades thrown by the terrorists. Indonesian authorities say the group militants consisted of at least five people. Five have been killed but authorities do not rule out that more militants were involved in the actions.
Center of the attacks was the area around Sarinah department store, the adjacent Starbucks (on the ground-floor of the Skyline Building, locally known as Gedung Cakrawala) and the police box at the junction between the Skyline Building and Sarinah. This is a key shopping and business area in the Central Business District of Jakarta.
The seven people that were killed due to the terrorist attack on Thursday included five militants and two civilians (one Indonesian and one Canadian). Budi Gunawan, Deputy Chief Commander at the National Police, said two terrorists were killed in a shootout with the police near a movie theater next to the Skyline Building, two other militants blew themselves up at the parking lot in front of the Starbucks branch that is located on the ground-floor of the Skyline Building, while one other militant blew himself up at a small police post at the junction.
Earlier today Dutch news agency NOS reported that one Dutchman (a worker at the United Nations) was among those that were killed. However, this news story was revised later. The Dutchman, reportedly, is heavily wounded but still alive. Local news agencies initially reported several Indonesian policemen had been killed. This story was also revised later during the day. Five policemen - as well as several foreigners and Indonesians civilians - were injured due to the terrorist attacks.
Foreign embassies in Jakarta are advising citizens to avoid traveling in the affected area in Central Jakarta and avoid large crowds. Starbucks reacted by temporarily closing all its branches in Jakarta on Thursday. Starbucks is a coffee place often visited by foreigners and therefore a potential target. The Islamic State movement, claiming responsibility for the attacks, said targets were foreigners and those Indonesian forces that protect foreigners.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo condemned the attacks. He was quoted saying: "the state, nation and people should not be afraid of, and lose to, such terror acts."
After news spread about the terrorist attacks in Central Jakarta, Indonesia's benchmark stock index (Jakarta Composite Index, abbreviated JCI) plunged by 1.74 percent, while the Indonesian rupiah depreciated toward the IDR 14,000 per US dollar level. However, as the situation is starting to become under control, the JCI and rupiah have started to recover although still ending the day with losses.
Indonesia had already been on high alert around the Christmas and New Year celebrations as authorities received messages that militants were preparing attacks. Today's attacks were the first major attacks in Jakarta since the twin bombings of the Ritz Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels in 2009.