Sunday mass turned deadly in Indonesia, as coordinated suicide bombings were carried out against Christian churches at 7:30 A.M.. A total of 41 people were hospitalized with at least thirteen dead as suicide bomb attacks were attempted, three successfully, on churches in Surabaya, Indonesia. Two of the injured were police officers tasked with guarding the churches. ISIS has claimed responsibility in a statement:
“Three martyrdom attacks inflicts at least 11 deaths and 41 injuries of the churches’ guards and Christians in the city of Surabaya in East Java province in Indonesia.”
Original reports had placed the number of dead at six, but others have since succumbed to grievous injuries due to the explosions. From Straits Times:
Three people were killed at the Santa Maria Church in the Ngagel Madya area of Indonesia’s second-largest and busiest city, while one died at the Surabaya Centre Pentacostal Church. Two more people were killed at the GKI Diponegoro Church.
Breaking News: Ledakan terjadi di 3 gereja di Surabaya yang berada di Jalan Ngagel, Jalan Arjuno dan Jalan Diponegoro. pic.twitter.com/iz82rbdVvQ
— METRO TV (@Metro_TV) May 13, 2018
Fourth and fifth attacks were stopped when the bomb carriers failed to reach their targets. The targets were Saint Jacob’s Church at Citraland housing complex in West Surabaya and Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral on Jl. Polisi Istimewa. The bombers have been identified as members of a single family.
An ISIS affiliate, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, is reported to have been behind the attacks, with the family considered a sleeper cell.
The first bomb was detonated at the Santa Maria church by two brothers, aged 16 and 18, while they rode up to the church’s gate on a motorcycle. The second bomb was at the Surabaya Centre Pentacostal Church and was carried by the father, who staged himself near the entrance in a car. The third bomb was triggered by the mother at GKI Diponegoro Church, who walked up to the church with her two daughters, aged 9 and 12, while wearing a belt bomb.
A second bomb at the Pentecostal church, likely designed to injure rescue workers, was detected inside the car and remotely detonated without additional injuries. The persons responsible for the failed attacks have not been identified.
The belt explosion marks the first time a woman has committed a suicide bombing in Indonesia.
Two of the victims have been named. From The Jakarta Post:
An 11-year-old boy, identified as Vincencius Evan, has died after being severely injured in a reported suicide bombing at Saint Mary Immaculate (STMB) Catholic Church in Ngagel, Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday morning.
Evan’s little brother, Nathanael, 8, who was also injured in the explosion, is currently still in a critical condition and receiving medical treatment at Surabaya Bedah Hospital.
Retno Marsudi, the female foreign minister of the principally Islamic country, has condemned the attacks and called for further action against terrorism:
Strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Surabaya – Ret
We will not back down in the fight against terrorism
— Menteri Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia (@Menlu_RI) May 13, 2018
This is the second church attack in Indonesia in 2018; the prior incident resulted in injuries but no fatalities when a pro-ISIS militant attacked four churchgoers with a sword. (Fox News) Before February, the last church attack in the area had occurred in 2000.