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Indonesian police have shot dead seven terror suspects in raids over the past two days, including several with alleged links to a plot to bomb the Burmese embassy, officials said Thursday.
Thirteen suspects were captured alive as an elite police unit swooped on houses across the country’s main island of Java, in the biggest counter-terrorism operation in Indonesia for months.
As well as investigating links to the embassy plot, which has underscored growing anger in Indonesia at anti-Muslim violence in largely Buddhist Burma, police were targeting suspected terrorist fund-raisers.
In the latest raid, police shot dead three suspects at a rented house in Kebumen district in Central Java and arrested four others early Thursday after a 15-hour firefight, said national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar.
“They put up resistance and fired shots from inside,” he told reporters, adding the men were suspected of being part of a network involved in robberies to fund a militant group called Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT).
Pipe bombs, grenades and pistols were seized from the property, said local police chief Heru Prisasono.
Amar said police were also investigating if they were linked to a plot uncovered last week to bomb the Burmese embassy.
On Wednesday police shot dead three men suspected of involvement in the Burma plot, who were holed up at a house at Bandung in West Java. The killings followed a seven-hour gun battle, during which the men hurled homemade bombs at police.
In a separate raid the same day, police in the central Java district of Batang shot dead a man and arrested a second suspected of robbing a jewellery store to fund terrorist activities.
In total, police carried out around 10 raids across Java.
The anti-terror operation came after police last week detained two men suspected of planning to bomb the Burmese embassy in Jakarta.
Burma has been rocked by several recent outbreaks of religious violence, which have left many minority Muslims dead and tens of thousands displaced.
Indonesia has mounted a crackdown against terror networks over the past decade in the wake of several deadly attacks on Western targets, and key militant groups have been weakened.
But the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur — East Indonesia Holy Warriors — has up till now largely evaded the crackdown, hiding out in the jungle around Poso on Sulawesi island.