Jakarta-Suicide bombers including a woman with children struck at three churches during mass on Sunday in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second biggest city, killing at least 10 and wounding dozens of others.
The first attack struck the Santa Maria Roman Catholic Church in Surabaya, killing four people, including one or more bombers, police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera told reporters at the scene. He said two police officers were among a total of 41 wounded.
The Islamic State group struck he world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, since a series of attacks on Christmas Eve in 2000 killed 15 people and wounded nearly 100. Religious minorities in Indonesia, especially Christians, have been repeatedly targeted by militants.
The national police chief, Tito Karnavian, said the family had been in Syria, where the Islamic State group until recently controlled a large swath of territory.
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.
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo arrived in Surabaya, the East Java provincial capital, in the aftermath of the attacks, Mangera said.
A senior police official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media said,the bombings were carried out by at least five suicide bombers, including a veiled woman who had two children with her.
A civilian guard named Antonius said,at first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard but the woman ignored them and forced her way inside. Suddenly (the bomb) exploded,”.
Antonius described the woman with children, saying she was carrying two bags at the Diponegoro church.
A street merchant outside the church said she was blown away several meters (yards) by the powerful blast.
The Indonesian Church Association strongly condemned the attacks and called on people to wait for authorities to investigate.
“We are angry with these attacks, but we leave it to the authorities to resolve them,” said Gormar Gultom, an official with the association.
Two of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organizations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, also condemned the attacks.