PALU, Indonesia — Indonesia’s most wanted militant with ties to the Islamic State jihadist group was killed today in a gunbattle with security forces, the military says, in a victory for the counterterrorism campaign against extremists in the jungles of Sulawesi island.
Ali Kalora was one of two militants killed in the shootout, says Central Sulawesi’s regional military chief Brig. Gen. Farid Makruf. He identifies the other suspected extremist as Jaka Ramadan.
The two men were fatally shot during a raid late Saturday by a joint team of military and police officers in Central Sulawesi province’s mountainous Parigi Moutong district, Makruf says. It borders Poso district, considered an extremist hotbed in the province.
“Ali Kalora was the most wanted terrorist and leader of MIT,” Makruf says, referring to the Indonesian acronym of the East Indonesia Mujahideen network, a militant group that claims allegiance to the Islamic State. He says that security forces were searching for the four remaining members of the group.
The East Indonesia Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for several killings of police officers and minority Christians.
Security operations in Central Sulawesi have intensified in recent months to try to capture members of the network, particularly targeting Ali Kalora, the group’s leader. The network pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2014.