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Suspected IS terrorist stabs Indonesia's security minister

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TV footage showed Mr Wiranto (second from left) slumping to the ground after the attack in Pandeglang in Banten province.

Jakarta

INDONESIA'S chief security minister was stabbed on Thursday by a man authorities suspect had been radicalised by Islamic State (IS) ideology, and underwent surgery for his wounds, the first time such a senior politician has been attacked in recent years.

Indonesia, which is the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, is grappling with a resurgence in militancy and hundreds have been detained under tighter new anti-terrorism laws since the beginning of 2019.

Television footage showed Mr Wiranto slumping to the ground beside his car after the attack in Pandeglang in Banten province, west of the capital Jakarta on the island of Java.

A police photograph showed Mr Wiranto, a former general, being carried on a stretcher into a nearby hospital. The minister had suffered two wounds to his stomach, said Firmansyah, director of the Berkah Hospital.

Tomsi Tohir, Banten police chief, earlier said the minister had been conscious and described his condition as stable before he was flown to Jakarta by helicopter for further treatment.

President Joko Widodo said that security had to be improved and the network behind the attack dismantled.

"I have ordered the chief of police and the head of intelligence, supported by the Indonesian army, to investigate thoroughly and to punish the perpetrators," he told reporters after visiting the minister at the military hospital in Jakarta, where Mr Wiranto was undergoing surgery.

Police had arrested a man and a woman they suspected were a couple, and seized sharp weapons they were carrying, including knives and a pair of scissors.

The minister had been in the area to open a new building at a university and people were lining up to shake his hand and take selfies with him before the attack around noon, said Mr Tohir.

"For the time being, the suspicion from Banten Police is that the man is likely to have been exposed to IS radicalism while the woman is still being investigated," said national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo.

Mr Wiranto, 72, who like many Indonesians uses just one name, has served as chief security minister in Mr Joko's cabinet since 2016. REUTERS