Malaysia on alert after Jakarta attacks

Indonesian soldiers stand guard near the site where an explosion went off in Jakarta, Indonesia Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

Indonesian soldiers stand guard near the site where an explosion went off in Jakarta, Indonesia Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta said on Thursday it will stay closed on Friday as a precaution after an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attack by suicide bombers and gunmen in the heart of the Indonesian capital.

The embassy will provide emergency services only, and advised U.S. citizens to avoid certain areas.

Five extremists had launched assault in central Jakarta, apparently copying the Paris attacks as they detonated explosives and shot at people in a district packed with malls, embassies and United Nations offices.

The attacks have put Indonesia’s neighbors on high alert.

In Malaysia, authorities have raised the security alert to the highest level.

Over the past two years, Malaysian authorities have detained more than 150 suspects linked to ISIS.

Meanwhile, security forces in the Philippines have warned of an “emerging threat” of terrorism.

Police also beefed up security in train stations, bus terminals, airports and shopping malls and asked for public vigilance.

The Philippine government condemned the attacks. “We stand by in solidarity with our Indonesian brothers and sisters in this time of tragedy,” The Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Militants from at least four small Muslim groups in the country’s south have pledged support to the ISIS group, although the Philippine military says there is no evidence of direct contact or active collaboration.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the people and government of Pakistan “share the pain of Indonesian brethren at this critical moment.”

He added that terrorism is a common threat to Muslim countries and to fight it is their collective responsibility.

The U.S. also condemned the attacks.

“These acts of terror are not going to intimidate nation-states from protecting their citizens and continuing to provide real opportunity, education, jobs, possibilities of a future,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in London.

ISIS “have proven that they offer nothing, no alternative but their own destruction,” he said.


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