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'Terror attacks in Indonesia likely because of Israel's participation in football tournament'
Three groups or networks pose the terror threat, says an expert.
JAKARTA: The participation of an Israeli team in an upcoming world football tournament in Indonesia would cause terror attacks in the host country, a terrorism analyst has predicted.
Noor Huda Ismail has asked the Indonesian government to cancel the participation of the Israeli national team in the U-20 FIFA World Cup in Indonesia.
He said the arrival of the Israeli national team at the tournament to be held on May 20-June 11, 2023, would cause terror acts that threaten Indonesia's security.
"Indonesia has many networks of terrorist groups that have declared war on Israel. Their hatred for Israel is already very high. It is very likely that these groups will carry out attacks if Israel really comes," said Noor Huda according to news reports in Bahasa Indonesia on Monday.
Noor Huda said there are three groups in Indonesia that must be watched out for. The first is the Jemaah Islamiyah network or JI, which is already active, although it uses small groups as its affiliates.
"They have carried out demonstrations and issued threats, for example, to sweep hotels, raid airports and others," said the visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
The second group is Jamaah Ansharut Daulah or JAD, which is a pro-Daesh group that has long ago declared war on Israel. This group also exists in Indonesia and often carries out suicide bombings or other terror attacks.
"And the third is mainstream groups who are also actively carrying out operations. In essence, these terrorist networks will definitely find their own stage when the U-20 World Cup takes place. Because the trend is that they are considered to exist when they carry out attacks," said Noor Huda.
Even though security forces would work hard to ensure maximum security at the event, something can still be missed, he further said, the reason being terrorist groups are looking for cracks to strike through.
"They will do anything to maintain the existence of their group. This is related to funding. When they exist, the funds will continue to flow," added Noor Huda.
So far, the narrative of hatred against Israel has resonated extraordinarily in Indonesia, according to the analyst.
Not only in the public space, but narratives of resistance against Israel also continue to echo in cyberspace. Telegram groups that young people participate in discuss this matter widely, he revealed.
Noor Huda said he had heard a lot of information regarding terrorist groups’ action plans during the U-20 World Cup. The most popular, according to him, is the discussion of actions spread in the Telegram groups of the radical groups.
"Many of those in the group are ready to die to get a ticket to heaven. It only takes a little rub, then these young people can do anything," he feared.
For this reason, Noor Huda suggested that the Indonesian government should thoroughly examine Israel's participation in the tournament because with so many anti-Zionist terrorist groups in Indonesia, it is very likely that unwanted things will happen.
"The potential dangers of this must be read seriously, because this is Indonesia's big name and image in the international arena at stake," he said.
Noor Huda also supported several nationalist figures who rejected the arrival of the Israeli national team.
According to him, these figures may have known that there will be a scenario by the jihadists to create chaos in Indonesia.
"I'm sure these figures have received information regarding the plan of action of these terrorist groups. So in my opinion, rather than setting a stage for these terror groups, it's better for Israel not to come to Indonesia," he said.
The participation of the Israeli team at the event caused polemics not only in organising the tournament but also in politics.
Various protests and rejections were echoed by several parties who criticised Israel's participation for various reasons.
The climax was when the Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster refused to hold the tournament’s draw ceremony slated for Mar 31 in the island province.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo also rejected the presence of the Israeli national team and asked the organising committee and related parties to seek steps so that the World Cup could continue without the presence of the Israelis.
Meanwhile, FIFA in its statement has decided to cancel the group stage draw event in Bali on that date.
The Indonesian Football Association is still awaiting further instructions from FIFA as to a new date and location for the draw.