Bomb attacks at three churches in Indonesia

bomb attacks

A family of six staged suicide bombings at three Indonesian churches during church services on Sunday, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens.

The family – a mother and father, two daughters aged nine and 12, and two sons aged 16 and 18 – were linked to local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which supports IS, said national police chief Tito Karnavian.

Local media reports say they may have returned from Syria, where hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside IS.

The mother and her two daughters were wearing niqab face veils and had bombs strapped to their waists as they entered the grounds of the Kristen Indonesia Diponegoro Church and blew themselves up, said national police chief Tito Karnavian.

The father, JAD cell leader Dita Priyanto, drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church.

His sons rode motorcycles into Santa Maria church where they detonated explosives they were carrying.

A police bomb squad also safely detonated an unexploded bomb that was discovered at the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church.

Police said four suspected JAD members were also killed on Sunday in a shootout during raids linked to a deadly prison riot this week.

Five members of Indonesia’s elite anti-terrorism squad, and a prisoner, were killed in clashes that saw Islamist inmates take a guard hostage at a high-security jail on the outskirts of Jakarta. IS claimed responsibility.

Karnavian said Sunday’s attacks may have been revenge for the arrest of some of JAD’s leaders and for the prison crisis which eventually saw the surrender of the radical inmates.

“The incident angered them … and there were instructions from IS in Syria, so they waited for a moment to take revenge,” he said.

The Pope offered support over “the severe attack against places of worship,” while President Joko Widodo called for Indonesians to “unite against terrorism.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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