Indonesian Suicide Bomber Family, Inspired By Islamic State, Leaves At Least 13 Dead In Attacks At 3 Churches

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A string of suicide bombings in Indonesia’s Surabaya has left 13 dead and dozens injured.

The attacks came early Sunday morning and targeted multiple churches in the city during their early worship services. The suspects behind the bombings are all members of the same family, according to Indonesian intelligence, and the Islamic State has already claimed responsibility for the terrorist incident.

According to reports, a father, a mother and her two daughters, and the family’s two sons all targeted separate churches across the city. The two young men — aged 16 and 18 — attacked first, riding their motorcycles into Santa Maria Catholic Church before detonating the bombs they were carrying. The following attacks were timed five minutes apart with the father driving a car filled with explosives onto the grounds of the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church. Meanwhile, the mother and her two daughters — aged 9 and 12 — strapped explosives to their bodies and blew themselves up at Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church.

The attacks are the deadliest incidents of terrorism Indonesia has suffered since 2005 and are believed to be the work of Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an IS-inspired terrorist cell.

Officials say they foiled several planned attacks on Sunday, killing four suspected members of JAD and arresting two others.

Paramedics help victim of Indonesia Church Attacks
Featured image credit: AP Photos

The bombings have come as a shock to the nation. Back in 2002, 200 people were killed in two bombings carried out by al-Qaeda militants on the island of Bali, a popular spot for tourists. Since then, the country has committed its resources to cracking down on terrorism, receiving praise for its elimination and arrests of suspected terrorists, and for its efforts to de-radicalize militants through programs that work to reprogram the indoctrinated and offer alternative incomes for released terrorists.

While there’s been a rise in the number of women being recruited to these kinds of terrorist cells, this marks the first time children have been involved in an attack in Indonesia. The country has previously enjoyed an era of tolerance by rising animosities in the Muslim-majority nation have left minority groups feeling threatened. Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has called the attacks “barbaric” and vowed to find and punish anyone involved in the bombings.