Suicide bombers suspected to be from an Islamic State-inspired group killed at least nine people and wounded 40 in attacks on Christians attending Sunday morning services at three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya, security officials said.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has seen a recent resurgence in homegrown militancy inspired in part by Islamic State.
East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said explosions took place in three churches and at least 40 people had been taken to hospital.
“There is one location where we can’t enter yet,” Mangera told reporters near the scene of one of the bombings.
Television footage showed one church where the yard in front appeared engulfed in fire, with thick, black smoke billowing up. A large blast was heard hours after the attacks, which Mangera said was a bomb disposal squad “securing” a remaining device.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.
Wawan Purwanto, communication director at Indonesia’s intelligence agency said Islamic State-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) was believed to be behind the bombings.
JAD is an umbrella organization on a U.S. State Department “terrorist” list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia.
The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.
The church attacks were likely linked to the prison hostage standoff, Purwanto said.
“The main target is still security authorities, but we can say that there are alternative (targets) if the main targets are blocked,” he said.Reuters