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Cops: We Foiled Terror Tactic Never Used in Southeast Asia

Police in Indonesia say they busted bomb plot that would've used WiFi for detonation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2019 9:27 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/CASEZY)

(Newser) – Next Wednesday was supposed to be the day. That's when Islamic militants were planning on setting off a bomb, an Indonesian police spokesman says—and they reportedly had a high-tech plan in place. They were going to use WiFi to detonate it, Dedi Prasetyo tells the New York Times, a terror tactic he says has never been successfully used before in Southeast Asia, though terrorists have used it in the Middle East. Per the Times and the AP, nine suspected militants were arrested following raids on the island of Java, with several suspects believed to be linked to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah militant network, which is tied to ISIS.

In the raid, a counterterrorism squad says it recovered bomb-making explosives and detonators that could be triggered via WiFi using cellphones or radio transmitters. Dedi tells the Times that although cops will often use cellphone-signal jammers in large crowds to stop potential bomb detonations, WiFi signals are more challenging to stymie. And if suspects can set up such a system, they can achieve a detonation range of up to two-thirds of a mile. "One guy with electronics skills, that's all you need," says the head of Jakarta's Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict. Police say the bombing was set to coincide with the announcement Wednesday of the vote tally in the country's elections. (Read more Indonesia stories.)

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