Six Suicide Bombers Attack Three Indonesia Churches

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A Coordinated suicide bomb attack carried out by members of the same family struck three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city on Sunday, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation recoiled in horror at one of the worst attacks on its Christian minority.

A husband and wife used their four children in the string of deadly suicide attacks on three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya that left 13 people dead, according to the country’s ranking police official.

The family included two daughters, aged 9 and 12 years old, said Head Gen. Tito Karnavian. The young girls were present when their mother detonated one of the bombs, and the couple’s two teenage sons carried out a separate attack on another church.

The mother and two daughters blew themselves up at a church, while the father and two sons targeted two others in Indonesia’s second city, Surabaya.

The first attack struck the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church in Surabaya, police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told reporters at the scene. That blast was followed by a second explosion minutes later at the Christian Church of Diponegoro and a third at the city’s Pantekosta Church, Mangera said. A witness described the woman’s attack at the Diponegoro church, saying she was carrying two bags when she arrived.

The family of six who carried out three church bombings in Indonesia had returned from Syria, police say.

Police identified the father as Dita Oepriarto, saying he was the head of a local JAD cell.

He reportedly dropped off his wife, Puji Kuswati, and their two daughters at Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church, where they blew themselves up. The girls – aged 9 and 12 – had bombs strapped to them, as did their mother.

Oepriarto then drove off, launching his own bomb-laden car into the grounds of Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church, police said.

The sons – aged 16 and 18 – rode motorcycles into Santa Maria Catholic Church, and detonated explosives they were carrying. It was their attack that came first, at around 07:30 local time (00:30 GMT). The other two attacks followed five minutes apart, police said.

The family of suicide bombers who blew up three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia. Picture: Twitter/James Massola; Source:Twitter
The family of suicide bombers who blew up three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia. Picture: Twitter/James Massola; Source:Twitter

National police chief Tito Karnavian said they belonged to an IS-inspired network, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

The Islamic State group has claimed the attacks, which killed at least 13 people on Sunday and left 41 people, including two police officers wounded.

The bombings are the deadliest in Indonesia in more than a decade, and also left more than 40 people injured.

Visiting the scene of one of the attacks, President Joko Widodo described them as “barbaric”, adding that he had ordered police to “look into and break up networks of perpetrators”.

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