IS-linked terror group leader shot dead

Massive haul: Evidence of the network activity is displayed during a news conference, following a joint operation raid by military and police at the Parigi Moutong police station in Indonesia. — Reuters

The leader of an Islamic State-linked network in Indonesia was killed in a shootout with security forces, police said.

Ali Kalora, head of the East Indonesia Mujahideen (MIT), was shot dead on Saturday in Sulawesi island’s jungle, along with another member, identified as Jaka Ramadhan.

Police have launched a manhunt for four more MIT fighters.

“We will keep looking until we get them,” Rudy Sufahriadi, police chief of Central Sulawesi province, said yesterday.

The weekend firefight took place two months after authorities shot down two suspected members of the group in the same Parigi Moutong district, near the extremist hotbed of Poso district.

Classified as a terrorist organisation by the United States, MIT is among dozens of radical groups across the South-East Asian archipelago that have pledged allegiance to IS.

After hiding in the jungles of Sulawesi for years, the network is now estimated to have just a handful of members left.

But it has been accused of plotting several deadly attacks, with the most recent being the killing of four farmers – one was reportedly beheaded – in a remote village in May.

Kalora took over leadership of MIT after the country’s most-wanted extremist, Santoso, was shot dead by troops in 2016.

A long-haired, gun-toting militant, Santoso recruited members from abroad, and regularly appeared in videos urging extremists to launch attacks on security forces. — AFP

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