Six suicide bombers from one family — including children and teens — rode in on motorcycles and attacked three churches in Indonesia during Sunday Mass, killing at least 11 people and wounding dozens more, police and media reports said.
The family accused of carrying out one of the most serious attacks against Indonesia’s Christian minority had been in Syria, where ISIS had controlled a large territory in the field until recently, Indonesia’s national police chief Tito Karnavian said. The father, two sons ages 18 and 16, and the mother with two children ages 12 and 9 all took part in the deadly church bombings.
All three assaults targeting Sunday Mass congregations occurred in Surabaya, a city of around 2.8 million people in a country that holds the world’s largest Muslim majority, Reuters reported. More than 40 people were injured in the blasts.
The first attack that killed four people, including one or more bombers, occurred at the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church, police told reporters at the scene. Two police officers were among more than 40 wounded, they said. The father of the family accused of carrying out the suicide bombing had detonated a car bomb during his attack.
The incident was followed by a second explosion at the Christian Church of Diponegoro that killed two people. In a third attack, at Pantekosta Church, two more died, police said.
A witness described the woman with two children, saying she was carrying two bags at the Diponegoro church.
“At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard, but the woman ignored them and forced her route inside. Abruptly( the bomb) explosion, ” said a civilian guard named Antonius.
Shattered glass and chunks of concrete littered the entrance of the Santa Maria Church, which was sealed off by heavily armed police. Rescue personnel treated victims on a nearby field while officers inspected wrecked motorcycles in the parking lot that were burned in the explosion.
A street merchant outside the church said she was blown back several yards by the powerful blast. She said she saw two men riding on a motorbike, which Karnivan said the two teenage boys had being implemented in their attack.
“I watched two men riding a motorbike forced their style into the churchyard. One was wearing black pants and one with a knapsack, ” said Samsia, who employs a single name. “Soon after that the explosion happened.”
There was no immediate assert of responsibility for the deadly attacks.
The latest attacks went days after police aimed a riot and hostage-taking at a detention center near Jakarta that left six officers and three inmates dead. The Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility.
Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on activists since bombings by Al Qaeda-affiliated revolutionaries in Bali in 2002 killed 202 people.
Churches have been previously targeted in central Jakarta at Christmas in 2000 that killed about 20 people, Reuters reported.
Indonesia has insured a “recent resurgence in homegrown militancy, ” the wire service reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .
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