Indonesia church attacks kill at least two, 13 injured

Monday, 14 May, 2018

A family of six including two young daughters staged suicide bombings at the three Indonesian churches during Sunday services, killing at least 13 people and at least 40 others in attacks claimed by the Islamic State group, Agence France-Presse reported.

According to Karnavian, the father of family was the bomber at the Surabaya Pentecostal Church, while two male teenage relatives blew themselves up at Saint Mary Immaculate Catholic Church.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, has seen a recent resurgence in homegrown militancy and police said the family who carried out the attacks were among 500 Islamic State sympathisers who had returned from Syria. "The husband drove auto, model Avanza, which contained explosives, and introduced him through front door of church", explained to journalists Spokesman of East Java Police, Frans Barung Mangera, at gates of police station in Surabaya.

Police in Indonesia have revealed that members of the same family were behind suicide bomb attacks on 3 churches on Sunday. The police chief said that two of their sons, ages 18 and 16, had also been involved.

The first attack at the Santa Maria church claimed four fatalities, one of them being the suspected bomber disguised as one who had come to listen to the sermon.

"I am particularly close to the dear people of Indonesia, especially to the communities of Christians of the city of Surabaya, which were hit hard by the serious attack on places of worship", he said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the scenes of the attacks and described them as "cowardly actions" that were "very barbaric and beyond the limit of humanity". The third and final attack killed two at the Pantekosta Church.

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A string of suicide bombings in Indonesia's Surabaya has left 13 dead and dozens injured. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

"At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard, but the woman ignored them and forced her way inside". The men were members of a pro-ISIS militant group and had been working on plans to attack the Jakarta detention center, police said. "Suddenly she hugged a civilian then (the bomb) exploded", said the witness, a security guard who identified himself as Antonius.

"These terrorist attacks are cruel and inhuman", the president said in Surabaya, after visiting victims at the hospital and inspecting the damage at the churches.

He reiterated the support of the United Nations to the government and people of Indonesia in their efforts to fight and prevent terrorism and violent extremism, including through the promotion of pluralism, moderation and tolerance, said the statement.

Last week, five counterterrorism police officer and one inmate died in a riot in a high-security prison outside Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

Almost 90 percent of Indonesia's 260 million people are Muslim, but there are significant numbers of Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown in recent years that smashed some networks, and most recent attacks have been low-level and targeted domestic security forces.