Family With Young Children Conducts Suicide Bombings Against Three Churches

Horrible story. 13 people have been killed and more than 41 injured in three separate attacks on churches in Surabaya, Indonesia. At least one attacker was disguised as a churchgoer.

From NY Times:

Mr. Mangera said the bombs had been detonated in different parts of the city within minutes of one another. He said the victims included many worshipers who were entering and leaving the churches between services. Two police officers were among the victims, he said.

Indonesia’s police chief, Tito Karnavian, said at a news conference that the bombings had been the work of one family, who set off three different kinds of bombs. The forensic laboratory is investigating what kind of explosives were used, he said.

He identified the man only as Dita and the woman as Puji Kuswanti, and said two sons, Yusuf, 18, and Alif, 16, were also involved. Two younger children were also seen in the company of the woman at one bombing site, the police said.

According to the police the attacks were carried out by the family in three separate teams, with the mother and two young children in one, the two teen-age sons in another and the father acting by himself.

The police said the father, driving a Toyota minivan, had dropped off the mother and the two younger children, ages 12 and 9, at the Indonesia Christian Church.

Kumparan News, an online news site, quoted the deputy police chief of Surabaya as saying that a woman with two children tried to force her way into the church after being stopped by a security guard. The woman then detonated the bomb in the yard outside the entrance, killing herself and the two children, the deputy police chief said.

The police chief said the sons had detonated a bomb at Santa Maria Church. Photographs from the site showed several people lying on the ground outside the church gate. Other images showed scattered debris and the police cordoning off the site.

The father crashed his vehicle into Surabaya Center Pentecostal Church, detonating an explosion, the police said. Investigators said they believed the bomb had been in the vehicle.

ISIS has claimed responsibility but hasn’t provided any evidence. They’ve become more present and causing more trouble in Indonesia of late.

Other extremists including Al Qaeda have also targeted churches.

Surabaya, where the attacks took place, has a big Christian minority population of almost 3 million.

Ansyaad Mbai, a former leader of Indonesia’s counterterror agency, said he believed that the tight coordination of Sunday’s attacks suggested that they were the work of a single group, which might have sleepers cells in Indonesia.

“This is a series of planned attacks that are aimed at delegitimizing the government,” he said. He suggested that the attacks might have been the work of local extremist groups like the Jamaah Anshar Daulah, which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

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