Police: Members of a family bombed 3 Indonesian churches


Coordinated suicide bombings carried out by members of the same ­family struck three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city Sunday, police said, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation ­recoiled in horror at one of its deadliest attacks since the 2002 Bali bombings.

At least seven people were killed and 41 injured in the church attacks in Surabaya, according to police. The six members of the family that carried out the attack also died.

National police chief Tito Karnavian said the father detonated a car bomb; two sons, ages 18 and 16, used a motorcycle for their attack; and the mother and two daughters, ages 9 and 12, wore explosives.

Karnavian said the family had returned to Indonesia from Syria, where until recently the Islamic State controlled a significant amount of territory.

The militant group asserted responsibility for the attacks in a statement carried by its Amaq News Agency. It did not mention anything about families or children taking part and said there were only three attackers.

Indonesia’s deadliest terrorist attack occurred in 2002, when bombs exploded on the tourist island of Bali, killing 202 people, mostly foreigners.

Jemaah Islamiah, the network responsible for the Bali attacks, was obliterated by a sustained crackdown by Indonesia’s counterterrorism police with U.S. and Australian support. A new threat has emerged in recent years, inspired by Islamic State attacks abroad. Experts on militant networks have warned for several years that the estimated 1,100 Indonesians who traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State posed a threat if they returned home.

Karnavian identified the father as Dita Futrianto and said he was head of the Surabaya cell of ­Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, an Indonesian militant network affiliated with the Islamic State. He identified the mother as Puji Kuswati. The attacks occurred within minutes of one another, according to Surabaya police.

Karnavian said Futrianto drove a bomb-laden car into the city’s Pentecostal church.

Kuswati, with her two daughters, attacked the Christian Church of Diponegoro, he said. Based on their remains, Karnavian said the mother and daughters were wearing explosives around their waists.

The sons rode a motorcycle onto the grounds of the Santa Maria Catholic Church and detonated their explosives there.

National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said police fatally shot four suspected militants and arrested two others early Sunday in West Java towns. It was not clear whether the shootings were connected to the church attacks.

The church attacks came days after police ended a hostage-taking by imprisoned Islamist militants at a detention center near Jakarta in which six officers and three inmates died. The Islamic State asserted responsibility.



Source link