JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian security minister Wiranto was wounded on Thursday in a stabbing attack attributed to an Islamic State extremist in Banten in an attempt to assassinate one of the country's most influential figures.
The Indonesian intelligence chief said the bomber was linked to ISIS. "We have been able to determine that the attackers are members of Ansar al-Dawla," Bode Ghanawan told reporters. "These groups are trying to destabilize."
Television footage showed security men arresting a man and a woman outside a university in Padiglang on Java island after the attack on Wiranto, 72, who uses a single name similar to many Indonesians.
"Somebody approached him and attacked him," police spokesman Didi Prasettio said. Wiranto and the local police chief were wounded, he said, referring to the arrest of a man and a woman.
The spokesman for the pool hospital Vimansya that Wiranto suffered "two deep stabs" but he did not lose consciousness and his condition is stable and may require surgery.
Wiranto, who police said has been the target of several killings this year, was flown by helicopter to the capital Jakarta.
Wiranto, a retired army chief who has run for president in the past and is defeated, faces criticism over alleged human rights abuses and crimes against humanity linked to the 1999 violence in East Timor during the independence referendum. Wiranto has considerable influence in the country and has held several ministerial posts.
Thursday's attack comes just a week before Indonesian President Joko Widodo begins a second term in the Southeast Asian archipelago, which has a population of about 260 million, the world's largest Muslim population.
Asked about the security minister, Widodo, who was surrounded by journalists in Jakarta, said Thursday: "I will go to the hospital."
Three other people were wounded in the attack, a local police commander and two assistants.
Banten police chief Tommy Tuhir said they were "wounded with white arms and are in a stable condition."
- Wiranto was targeted in May - Police said the bomber was identified as Cyril Alemsaia, 31, and the suspect was a 21-year-old woman named Vitry Adriana.
The young woman was wearing a dark veil covering her face, witness Madrohim said. "When Wiranto's car stopped, there were people who surrounded him to protect him," he told an AFP journalist.
"But someone sneaked into the circle and beat Wiranto with a knife and the woman tried to do the same and was stopped," he said, noting that the woman "resisted the police."
The attack comes a week before the inauguration of President Goku Widodo, who was re-elected in April for a second term as president.
Police said in May that Wiranto and three other officials had been targeted by a plot to assassinate them in a violent riot that rocked the capital Jakarta after Goku Widodo was re-elected.
A group of six people were arrested before the plan began and they were accused of trying to destabilize the country, police said.