Indonesian police have arrested 17 people, including several children, for allegedly having links to the Islamic State (Isis) group after Turkey deported them over concerns that they were travelling to Syria.
National police spokesman Rikwanto said the group was detained at the international airport in Jakarta on Saturday after arriving on a flight from Istanbul. He added that the Turkish authorities were suspicious that the group was planning to enter Syria where swathes of land are still controlled by the Sunni Islamic terror group.
In recent years, hundreds of people from Indonesia, the country with the world's biggest Muslim population, have moved to join IS in the Middle East. The terror threat in the region stems from the fact that the radicalised people return to the home soil to launch attacks.
Rikwanto said the authorities were trying to find out who had recruited them and who were funding them. "There are indications they are involved with IS," he told AFP. There have been rpeorts that Indonesian prisons are a fertile ground for Isis recruitment.
The Indonesian authorities have arrested suspected radicals in recent years for allegedly trying to head to Syria. The emergence of Isis has provided a potent new rallying cry for radicals in the country that has been struggling with Islamic militancy. It has also sparked fears of a revival of extremist networks.
Last year, the gun and suicide attack in Jakarta was the first attack claimed by Isis in Southeast Asia, and the first major assault in Indonesia in seven years. The attack killed four civilians. There have been a series of other minor attacks and plots linked to Isis in recent times.