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Suicide bomber targets packed Indonesian church; not less than 14 injured, say police

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Suicide bomber targets packed Indonesian church; not less than 14 injured, say police

The police are investigating whether or not the attackers had been linked to a neighborhood affiliate of the banned Jemaah Islamiyah community or had been performing independently

Suicide bomber targets packed Indonesian church; at least 14 injured, say police

Police officer and rescue employees carry a physique bag containing what’s believed to be human stays exterior a church the place an explosion went off in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. AP

Makassar, Indonesia: A suicide bomber blew himself up exterior a packed Roman Catholic cathedral on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island throughout a Palm Sunday Mass, wounding not less than 14 individuals, police stated.

A mobile video obtained by The Related Press confirmed physique components scattered close to a burning bike on the gates of the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province.

The assault got here as Indonesia was on excessive alert following the arrest of Aris Sumarsono, often called Zulkarnaen, the chief of Jemmaah Islamiyah in December.

Wilhelmus Tulak, a Catholic priest who led the Mass when the bomb exploded at about 10:30 a.m., instructed reporters {that a} loud bang shocked his congregation who had simply completed the Sunday service marking the start of the Holy Week earlier than Easter.

The primary batch of churchgoers was strolling out of the church whereas one other group was coming in when the blast occurred, he stated.

He stated that safety guards suspected two motorists who needed to enter the church. One in every of them detonated his explosives and died close to the gate after being confronted by guards. The wounded included 4 guards and several other churchgoers.

Nationwide Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono instructed a information convention within the capital, Jakarta, that police had been nonetheless attempting to establish two attackers on a bike who used highly effective explosives.

He stated that police had been investigating whether or not they had been linked to a neighborhood affiliate of the banned Jemaah Islamiyah community or had been performing independently.

About 64 suspects had been detained by Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad, often called Densus 88, in a number of provinces, together with 19 final month in Makassar. The arrests adopted a tipoff about attainable assaults towards police and locations of worship.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 individuals, principally overseas vacationers. Assaults aimed toward foreigners have been largely changed lately by smaller, much less lethal strikes concentrating on the federal government, police and anti-terrorism forces and other people militants think about as infidels.

A court docket banned Jemaah Islamiyah in 2008, and the group was weakened by a sustained crackdown. A brand new menace has emerged lately impressed by the Islamic State group’s assaults overseas.

The nation’s final main assault was in Might 2018, when two households carried out suicide bombings within the second-largest metropolis of Surabaya, killing a dozen individuals together with two younger women whose dad and mom had concerned them in one of many assaults. Police stated the daddy was the chief of a neighborhood affiliate of the Islamic State group often called Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.

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