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July Today in Terrorism

July 3, 2008: Police foil attempted jihadi bombing in Indonesia

On July 3, 2008 AQ-linked Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists attempted to bomb a cafe popular with tourists in the Indonesian city of Bukittinggi.

BUKITTINGGI, INDONESIA – A trip abroad is always a lot of fun, until someone tries to kill you.

Who hasn’t gone on vacation? Whether it is across town or across the world (or even across the room for those who enjoy ‘staycations’) it is good to get away, isn’t it? See a bit of something different, enjoy new foods and cultures, and contribute to a huge benefit for others (the planet’s tourism industry generates, according to one estimate from 2018, $2.9 TRILLION to collective GDP).

Life is a beach, isn’t it? (Photo: Photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash)

Alas, there are always some to spoil a party.

Criminal gangs and petty thieves target tourists whom they see as at a minimum off their guard or, at the other end, completely clueless (NB on a trip to Baltimore many years ago I went out for a run: when I told a US colleague this he incredulously asked me “You went WHERE??? That is a high crime area!”).

Put terrorists in that bucket as well.

On this day in 2008

Violent extremists believed to be members of the Al Qaeda (AQ)-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) attempted to bomb a cafe popular with tourists in the Indonesian city of Bukittinggi. Fortunately police foiled the plot and arrested 12 terrorists.

There is no nobler life than to die as a martyr for jihad. None. The highest deed in Islam is Jihad. If we commit to Jihad, we can neglect other deeds, even fasting and prayer.

Statement by former JI leader Abu Bakar Ba’asyir

Authorities also seized a large cache of explosives, including “highly sophisticated” bomb-making materials and guns. Thankfully the police were on their game this time. On other occasions (e.g. the Bali bombings which killed a large number of Australian tourists in 2002) JI got the upper hand.

Happy travels!

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. and Director of the National Security programme at the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute (PDI). Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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