Indonesian anti-terror agents stand guard at the blast site following Sunday’s suicide bombing
The death toll continues to rise following a spate of bombings in Indonesia’s second largest city Surabaya, on Sunday, May 13. The bombers, reportedly targeted the country’s Christian minority of comprised mostly of ethnic Chinese population in the largely Muslim country.
The coordinated suicide bombings reportedly was carried out by members of the same family at three Christian churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya Sunday, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation reele in horror at one of its worst attacks since the Bali bombings of 2002.
At least eleven people died at the churches in Surabaya along with the six family members, the youngest of whom were girls aged 9 and 12, according to police. Another 41 people were injured.
National police chief Tito Karnavian said that the father detonated a car bomb, two sons aged 18 and 16 used a motorcycle for their attack, and the mother and her two daughters wore explosives.
The first attack struck the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church, killing four people, including one or more the bombers.
The second explosion happened minutes later at the Christian Church of Diponegoro and a third at the city’s Pantekosta church, Mr Mangera said.
Motorcycles burn following a blast at the Pentecost Church Central Surabaya, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia on Sunday
According to police spokesman, Frans Barung Mangera: ‘All places where the public can gather, security has been tightened in those places.’
He added that two police officers were among a total of 41 wounded.
A senior police official said the bombings were carried out by at least five suicide bombers, including a veiled woman who had two children with her.
A witness described the woman’s attack at the Diponegoro church: ‘At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard, but the woman ignored and forced her way inside.
‘Suddenly she hugged a civilian then the bomb exploded.’
A street merchant outside the church said she was blown away several yards by the powerful blast.
Nuns from the Immaculate Church of Santa Maria anxiously wait outside the ICU, Sunday
EMS carry injured man into waiting ambulance after the blast at The Immaculate Santa Maria Church on Sunday
The witness said she saw: ‘two men riding a motorbike forced their way into the churchyard. One was wearing black pants and one with a backpack.
‘Soon after that the explosion happened.’
Indonesia’s president condemned the attacks as “barbaric.”
In Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, the Indonesian Church Association strongly condemned the attacks and called on people to wait for authorities to investigate.: ‘We are angry with these attacks, but we leave it to the authorities to resolve them,’ said an official at the association, Gormar Gultom.
Two of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah also joined in the condemnation of the attacks.
Indonesian bomb squad inspect blast site in Surabaya, Indonesia on Sunday, May 13
National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said police fatally shot four suspected militants and arrested two others early Sunday in West Java towns.
It wasn’t clear if the shootings were connected with the church attacks.
‘They have trained in order to attack police,’ Wasisto said, identifying the militants as members of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.
The network of about two dozen extremist groups has been implicated in a number of attacks in Indonesia over the past year.
It pledges allegiance to Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The church attacks came days after police ended a riot and hostage-taking at a detention centre near Jakarta that left six officers and three inmates dead.
The more of the injured are evacuated after the blast at the Indonesian Christian Church to a waiting ambulance
Police activity at the site of bomb blast at the Pentecost Church Central Surabaya, Indonesia
An ISIS group has already claimed responsibility for that attacks.
In recent years, the country has faced a new threat as the rise of the Islamic State group in the Middle East invigorated local militant networks.
Christians, many of whom are from the ethnic Chinese minority, make up about 9% of Indonesia’s 260 million people.