JAKARTA, Indonesia — Police said they killed an assailant at the Indonesian capital of Jakarta late Friday after he stabbed two policemen who had just finished praying in a nearby mosque, marking the second knife attack on police in a week as the authorities grapple with a spike in Islamic terrorism.
National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said the incident appeared to be a terrorist attack and the wounded officers had been taken to hospital, while the attacker was shot dead.
The militant is thought to have prayed with several policemen in the mosque before reportedly shouting “Infidel” then lunging at the two police officers with a knife nearby the National Police headquarters.
“After prayers, the attacker drew out a bayonet while shouting ‘infidel’… and then attacked people on his left and right side,” said Wasisto.
The assailant was shot dead as he launched attacks on other police officers who tried to impede him from fleeing, according to the police spokesman.
Police had not yet identified the attacker but Islamic State sympathisers have carried out a series of mostly low-level attacks in Indonesia since the start of last year, targeting the police in retaliation for having arrested and killed dozens of militants and disrupting their operations.
There has since been a string of attacks in Indonesia, the latest of which were twin suicide bombings at a Jakarta bus station that killed three police officers last month and the stabbing to death of a police officer in Medan this week.
This was the second attack against the police in less than a week after two suspected militants with possible Islamic State links killed a police officer in the North Sumatra capital city of Medan on Sunday.
Police said the two men likely had links to Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian based in the Middle East who police say helped channel funds from Islamic State to carry out coordinated attacks with guns and bombs in downtown Jakarta last year.
The attack was the first by Islamic State in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.
Authorities have long feared a rising Islamic State influence in the country of 250 million people. Several hundred Indonesians have traveled to the Middle East to support the group, authorities say, while dozens more have fought alongside militants aligned with Islamic State in the southern Philippines who are seeking to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate.