Islamist attacks rattle Southeast Asia as Ramadan ends

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Islamists IndonesiaA series of attacks allegedly or admittedly committed by radical Islamists shook Southeast Asia in the last week of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which ended officially on July 5.

Violent attacks, including suicide bombings, occurred in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and came at the same time or just shortly after the recent bombings at Istanbul airport, the brutal attacks on foreigners and diplomats in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and attacks against Shiite Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

The attacks are believed to be a result of Islamist group ISIS trying to grow its footprint in Southeast Asia with its sizeable Muslim population.

On June 28, a grenade attack hit a nightspot in Puchong near Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur when people were watching the Spain-Italy Euro 2016 football match. While there were no fatalities in the attack, eight people were injured. It was the first “successful” attack in Malaysia of ISIS, apparently carried out on the orders of a Malaysian Islamic State fighter in Syria, Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi.

July 5, the last day of Ramadan, saw more bloody attacks. A suicide bomber attacked the largest police station in the Indonesian city of Surakarta on the island of Java, killing himself and injuring an officer. Police said the attacker had ISIS links. The incident came just four weeks after a number of suicide bombings were foiled in Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya.

Two police officers were wounded in Thailand on the same day when a bomb believed to have been placed under their vehicle detonated in the southern border province of Pattani. The explosion took place at a border checkpoint. Both officers, members of the country’s border patrol, were taken to a local hospital. Attackers are believed to be member of the local Muslim insurgency and reportedly fled to Malaysia.

Another bombing in Pattani on July 3 killed a policeman and wounded three others, while at least three others were killed in two separate but near-simultaneous attacks in the neighbouring province of Yala.

Meanwhile, videos surfaced in which the Malaysian arm of ISIS released warnings of attacks in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In one of the videos, militants are burning red Malaysian and green Indonesian passports, indicating their plans to attack.

Another video shows how children are being indoctrinated with ISIS beliefs. They are also seen getting weapons training. Sources said the video was made in Syria.

In the Philippines, the Islamist group of Abu Sayyaf on July 4 threatened to behead a Norwegian hostage for whom they unsuccessfully demanded ransom. The already killed two Canadian hostages, and in the latest incident on June 13 placed the victim’s head outside a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippine island of Sulu.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

A series of attacks allegedly or admittedly committed by radical Islamists shook Southeast Asia in the last week of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which ended officially on July 5.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Islamists IndonesiaA series of attacks allegedly or admittedly committed by radical Islamists shook Southeast Asia in the last week of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month which ended officially on July 5.

Violent attacks, including suicide bombings, occurred in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, and came at the same time or just shortly after the recent bombings at Istanbul airport, the brutal attacks on foreigners and diplomats in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and attacks against Shiite Muslims in Saudi Arabia.

The attacks are believed to be a result of Islamist group ISIS trying to grow its footprint in Southeast Asia with its sizeable Muslim population.

On June 28, a grenade attack hit a nightspot in Puchong near Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur when people were watching the Spain-Italy Euro 2016 football match. While there were no fatalities in the attack, eight people were injured. It was the first “successful” attack in Malaysia of ISIS, apparently carried out on the orders of a Malaysian Islamic State fighter in Syria, Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi.

July 5, the last day of Ramadan, saw more bloody attacks. A suicide bomber attacked the largest police station in the Indonesian city of Surakarta on the island of Java, killing himself and injuring an officer. Police said the attacker had ISIS links. The incident came just four weeks after a number of suicide bombings were foiled in Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya.

Two police officers were wounded in Thailand on the same day when a bomb believed to have been placed under their vehicle detonated in the southern border province of Pattani. The explosion took place at a border checkpoint. Both officers, members of the country’s border patrol, were taken to a local hospital. Attackers are believed to be member of the local Muslim insurgency and reportedly fled to Malaysia.

Another bombing in Pattani on July 3 killed a policeman and wounded three others, while at least three others were killed in two separate but near-simultaneous attacks in the neighbouring province of Yala.

Meanwhile, videos surfaced in which the Malaysian arm of ISIS released warnings of attacks in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In one of the videos, militants are burning red Malaysian and green Indonesian passports, indicating their plans to attack.

Another video shows how children are being indoctrinated with ISIS beliefs. They are also seen getting weapons training. Sources said the video was made in Syria.

In the Philippines, the Islamist group of Abu Sayyaf on July 4 threatened to behead a Norwegian hostage for whom they unsuccessfully demanded ransom. The already killed two Canadian hostages, and in the latest incident on June 13 placed the victim’s head outside a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippine island of Sulu.

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