10 killed as suicide bombers hit Indonesian churches

At least 10 people have been killed and 40 others wounded in explosions at three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, local police say.

A spokesperson for the country’s intelligence agency said Sunday’s bombings were suspected to have be carried out by the ISIL-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

Suicide bombers on motorcycles and including a woman with children targeted Sunday Mass congregations in three churches in Indonesia’s second largest city, killing at least nine people and wounding dozens in one of the worst attacks on the Christian minority, police said.

The first attack struck a Sunday Mass at the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church.  Mangera said two police officers were among a total of 41 wounded.  The blast was followed by a second explosion minutes later at the Christian Church of Diponegoro and a third at the city’s Pentecostal Church, Mangera said.

At least one of the attackers was killed when they detonated their bomb at Santa Maria. It was not clear if any other perpetrators were among those killed or injured.

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. 

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak to the media. 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 meters (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.”

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