At least 10 killed in 3 church bombings in Indonesia
INDONESIA – Suspected suicide bombers struck three different churches in Indonesia on Sunday morning, killing at least 10 people and injuring scores more, police say.
Forty-one people — including two police officers — are in hospital being treated for injuries following suspected terrorist attacks in Surabaya, a port city on the east coast of Java Island, East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.
The explosions targeted the Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church and the Pentecost Central Church. The St. Maria explosion killed four people and two people were killed at each of the other two churches, the spokesman said. Two people later died at a hospital.
St. Maria was the site of the first blast, which occurred at 7.30 a.m. local time Sunday (8.30 p.m. Saturday ET), before blasts at 7.35 a.m. and 8 a.m., state-run news agency Antara quoted him as saying.
“Right now there are only three locations. Do not believe in misleading information that (the bomb) exploded in five locations or any others,” the police spokesman added.
“We suspect it is a suicide bomb attempt. We have identified one victim,” he said.
The police spokesman declined to give more details on the victims.
Police have closed off all three locations as they work to identify the victims.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi tweeted her condolences to the bombing victims with the hashtags #UnitedAgainstTerrorism and #WeAreNotAfraid.
Police have not identified the attackers.
The US Embassy in Jakarta issued a statement condemning the Surabaya attacks.
“These attacks on peaceful worshipers 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.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country with more than 82% of its roughly 260,500,000 people following Islam. Around 10% of the population are Christian.
Indonesia has long struggled with domestic terrorist groups, particularly the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jemaah Islamiyah, which claimed responsibility for 11 bombing attacks between 2000 and 2010, including the deadly 2002 Bali bombings, which left more than 200 people dead and hundreds injured, many of them tourists.
In recent years the Asian nation has been fighting against radical extremism as ISIS attempts to recruit members within the country.
Last May, two suicide bombers attacked a bus station in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, killing at least three police officers and wounding six officers and five civilians, with authorities suspecting ISIS involvement.
In 2016, ISIS said it carried out a suicide bombing and shooting near a Starbucks in Jakarta. Two people were killed, and 24 were wounded.
It was the first major attack in Jakarta since Jemaah Islamiyah’s 2009 simultaneous attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, which left seven people dead.