Indonesia: Police officer killed in Medan knife attack by suspected militants

The authority say that the officer was stabbed and later he died of his wounds.

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Indonesian police are seen entering a building during a raid in Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia, August 5, 2016 Reuters

An Indonesian police officer was killed in a knife attack by suspected militants in the city of Medan, a police spokesman said on Sunday. The authority added that the officer was stabbed and later he died of his wounds.

Police spokesman Rina Sari Ginting told Reuters in a telephonic conversation that the police shot dead one suspect and another one was arrested after the attack on a police post in the capital of North Sumatra province.

Ginting added that the perpetrators had scaled the fence of the police post near police headquarters and shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) before stabbing the officer.

This latest attack would compound fears about rising militancy in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population. Islamic State sympathisers have carried out a series of mostly low-level attacks in Indonesia over the past few years.

Setyo Wasisto, the national police spokesman said the authorities were investigating whether the attackers were inspired by Islamic State and acting on the instructions of Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian who went to fight for the militants in Syria. There are fears across Southeast Asia that as Islamic State loses ground in the Middle East, it will seek footholds elsewhere.

This weekend, the Indonesian authorities have tightened the security as Eid al-Fitr holiday will be marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Last month, a suicide bomb attack by Islamic State-inspired militants at a bus station in the capital, Jakarta, killed three police officers.

President Joko Widodo has urged parliament to accelerate plans to tighten anti-terrorism laws to meet new dangers, including giving police powers to detain suspects without trial for longer and to arrest people for hate speech or for spreading radical content and joining proscribed groups.

Last week, National police chief Tito Karnavian said that about 40 suspected militants had been detained in recent weeks.