Indonesia’s Christians targeted in deadly church bombings
Suicide bombers on motorcycles — including a woman with children — attacked three churches in Indonesia early Sunday in Indonesia’s second-largest city, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens more, police and media reports said.
Police described it as one of the worst attacks against Indonesia’s Christian minority.
All three attacks occurred in Surabaya, a city of around 2.8 million people in a country that holds the world’s largest Muslim majority, Reuters reported.
The first attack was at the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church, which killed four people, including one or more bombers, police told reporters at the scene. Two police officers were among more than 40 wounded, they said.
The attack 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 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 way inside. Suddenly (the bomb) exploded,” 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 away several yards by the powerful blast.
“I saw two men riding a motorbike forced their way into the churchyard. One was wearing black pants and one with a backpack,” said Samsia, who uses a single name. “Soon after that the explosion happened.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly attacks.
The latest attacks came days after police ended a riot and hostage-taking at a detention center near Jakarta that left six officers and three inmates dead. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.
Indonesia has carried out a sustained crackdown on militants since bombings by al-Qaeda-affiliated radicals 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 seen “recent resurgence in homegrown militancy,” the wire service reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.