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Tuesday, December 03, 2019, 14:23
2 hurt in 'grenade' blast near Indonesia's presidential palace
By Agencies
Tuesday, December 03, 2019, 14:23 By Agencies

Police investigators inspect the site of an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec 3, 2019. (PHOTO / AP)

JAKARTA - An explosion of a suspected smoke grenade on Tuesday at a park near Indonesia's presidential palace in the heart of the capital injured at least two military personnel, Jakarta's police chief said. 

However, President Joko Widodo was not at the palace at the time, a presidential spokesman said.

A presidential spokesman said President Joko Widodo was not at the palace at the time of the explosion

It was not immediately clear if the blast was the result of a sectarian attack, but Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, has suffered a resurgence in homegrown militancy in recent years.

ALSO READ: Indonesia toughens anti-terror laws after Surabaya attacks

The explosion, which happened at 7:15 am (0015 GMT) on the north side of the National Monument Park (Monas), was thought to have been caused by a smoke grenade, Jakarta police chief Gatot Eddy Pramono told a televised news conference.

It injured two military personnel who were there for exercise, Jakarta military chief Eko Margiyono said, adding that they were taken to the army hospital of Gatot Subroto and were conscious. 

"A smoke grenade was found and we're looking into why it was there," Margiyono said, in comments aimed at reassuring the public that described the incident "as not so extraordinary". Margiyono stressed that the situation is under control and remains conducive.

Asked if the blast was the result of an attack, Pramono responded, "We haven't concluded so, because we're still investigating."

"We will question witnesses and the two victims when their condition are improved," said Pramono.

Pramono also noted that smoke grenade is commonly owned by police or military.

Within three hours, authorities had reopened the park area where the blast took place, across the street from the headquarters of Indonesia's home ministry.

Last month, six people were wounded after a 24-year-old university student blew himself up outside police headquarters in the Indonesian city of Medan.

The attack was linked to the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), responsible for a series of attacks across the country.

ALSO READ: Indonesia arrests 43 people following suicide attack

In October, a suspected Islamist stabbed and wounded former security minister Wiranto at a function to open a university building. Wiranto, who uses just one name, like many Indonesians, had to have surgery, but has since left hospital.

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