JAKARTA - A plot to bomb the US embassy and other American targets in Indonesia was driven in part by anger at an anti-Islam film that has sparked protests across the Muslim world, police said Monday.
The men, who were arrested in four cities across the main island of Java, were found with explosives and a bomb-making manual.
National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said documents seized from the alleged militants referred to the US-made film "Innocence of Muslims", which sparked deadly protests across the Muslim world last month.
"This film, which is viewed as insulting to Islam, seems to be one of this group's reasons" for plotting the attacks, he said. Police have said those arrested were from a group called HASMI, the Sunni Movement for Indonesian Society, which had not previously been linked to terror plots.
Indonesian anti-terror chief Ansyaad Mbai said the group's leader Abu Hanifah, who was detained in the city of Solo in Central Java, likely had ties to Al-Qaeda-linked group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
"I believe that the background of HASMI members will be found in Jemaah Islamiyah and JAT (Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid)," a radical group that was declared a terrorist organisation by the US in February, Mbai told AFP.
Indonesia has waged a long battle against terrorism since the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. The resort island held commemorations this month to mark 10 years since the attack.
JI has been blamed for the Bali bombings and other deadly attacks over the past decade but has been severely weakened by the government crackdown. Indonesia has not seen a major attack since 2009, when suicide bombers killed nine people at two five-star hotels in the capital.