- Associated Press - Monday, September 10, 2012

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s anti-terrorism forces have been busy over the past few months stopping militants who are plotting not to attack Westerners but to wage “holy war” against police and a government seen as barriers to creating an Islamic state.

The latest case involved alleged bomb maker Muhammad Toriq, who surrendered late Sunday while carrying a gun and ammunition and wearing a suicide bomber belt that did not contain any explosives.

He had been on the run since last week, when police flushed him out of his Jakarta house after neighbors reported seeing smoke billowing from it.

He escaped again over the weekend after a blast rocked a house in the capital’s outskirts. Police think a bomb accidentally exploded while it was being prepared for a terrorist attack, critically injuring one alleged militant inside the home.

Mr. Toriq is believed to be linked to a group that had an elaborate plan to shoot police and bomb parliament as a way to wage jihad against the “infidels” to establish Islamic Shariah law in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Police seized five pipe bombs, a big haul of explosive materials and several jihadist books from Mr. Toriq’s home. Investigators also found guide books on how to make bombs and to mix poisons.

Mr. Toriq told police he had planned to go on a suicide bomber mission Monday targeting either police, Indonesia’s elite anti-terrorism squad or Buddhists as a way to protest treatment of the minority Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

He had written a suicide note but told police he had decided against the mission at the last minute after he thought about the pain it would cause his mother, wife and son, said National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar.

“To assassinate local infidels and police is the most realistic action for Islamist militants now because it is more practical and inexpensive,” said Taufik Andri, an analyst from the Inscription Peace Foundation, established in 2008 to help reform militant inmates.

He said the U.S. and its allies remain enemies but today’s young militant generation agrees with hard-liner clerics that a secular government without Shariah law is an infidel government. Its leaders and law enforcers are the real enemies of Islam.

Since March, police have arrested nearly two dozen suspected Islamic militants and killed seven in a series of raids. All of them were plotting domestic attacks against Indonesians instead of foreigners, who have been the main target here in the past, said Ansyaad Mbai, who heads the country’s anti-terrorism agency.

In 2002, Islamist militants with links to al Qaeda bombed two nightclubs on Bali island and killed 202 people, most of them Westerners. Most attacks since then have been smaller and local.

The change signals Indonesia’s success in suppressing its main underground terrorist networks but also shows how radical groups still operating in the open remain potent breeding grounds where angry young men can become attackers.

“They are the young militants who aspired to establish a caliphate in Indonesia,” Mr. Mbai said. “They were inspired by jihadist books and literature and sermons of Islamist radical clerics.”

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