13 May 2018, The Tablet

Suicide attack on 3 churches in Indonesia

14 people were killed and more than 40 others injured as suicide bombers blow themselves up during Sunday worship

Suicide attack on 3 churches in Indonesia

Suspected Islamists staged coordinated attacks today in Indonesia’s second city of Surabaya, the capital of Indonesia's East Java province in churches of three denominations.

All three churches were attacked by suicide bombers at times of worship. At 7.30 this morning at Santa Maria Catholic Church an explosion claimed the lives of three of the congregation and a terrorist, according to police. Two explosions followed soon afterwards, at Diponegoro Protestant Church and Pantekost Pentecostal Church. Two people were reported killed at each of these churches, with more people dying later in hospital. In total 14 people were killed, including the suicide bombers and their children that they involved in the bombing.

Active bombs were also defused at these two churches. At least 41 people including two police officers were in hospital following the suspected terror attacks. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo flew out on Sunday to visit victims of the attack in Surabaya hospitals. He was due to hold a press conference with police later in the day.

The US Embassy in Jakarta issued a statement condemning the Surabaya attacks. "These attacks on peaceful worshippers are an affront to the tolerance and diversity embraced by Indonesians. The United States stands with the people of Indonesia, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims," the statement read.

In the hours before the church attacks, national police spokesman Setyo Wasisto announced on that four suspected terrorists had been killed during a police raid overnight in Cianjur, West Java. Police killed the men after they had produced weapons during the raid and evidence confiscated included revolvers, bullets and an arrow with a bomb placed on the end of it, Wasisto said. "They have trained in order to attack police," Wasisto said, identifying the militants as members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, or JAD.

JAD is an umbrella organization on a U.S. State Department “terrorist” list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia.

The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country with more than 82 per cent of its roughly 260,500,000 people following Islam. Around 10 per cent of the population are Christian.

Pic: People gather at a bombing site in Surabaya, capital of Indonesia's East Java Province, May 13, 2018. Six people including the suicide bombers were killed and at least 35 others injured as suicide bombers blew themselves up during services in three churches in Surabaya on Sunday. Credit: Kurniawan/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images


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