Suspected suicide bombing rocks Indonesian church, injuring many | Indonesia News
At least nine people were injured after a suspected suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a crowded church during Palm Sunday mass.
A suspected suicide bomber detonated his explosives outside a Catholic church in the Indonesian city of Makassar, police and a witness said, injuring at least nine people on the first day of Easter Holy Week.
The explosion took place on Sunday when the congregation was inside the church, police spokesman E Zulpan told Reuters news agency.
The town of Makassar is located on the island of Sulawesi.
Zulpan said the lone striker was the only fatality.
He added that it was not clear whether the body parts present at the scene were solely from the assailant.
“We are trying to find out if [the body parts are] bombers or passers-by … Some injured victims were taken to hospital. “
Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest who was leading mass at the time of the explosion, told Indonesian media that the suspected terrorist attempted to enter the church grounds on a motorcycle, but was stopped by a guard from security.
He said the explosion occurred around 10:30 am (03:30 GMT) and none of the worshipers were killed.
Security camera footage showed an explosion that threw flames, smoke and debris in the middle of the road.
Makassar mayor Danny Pomanto said the explosion could have claimed many more lives if it had taken place at the main door of the church instead of a side entrance.
Police did not say who could be responsible for the apparent attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Police accused the ISIS-inspired group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) of suicide attacks in 2018 on churches and a police station in the city of Surabaya, which killed more than 30 people.
Boy Rafli Amar, the head of the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency, described Sunday’s attack as an act of “terrorism.”
Makassar, Sulawesi’s largest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country with a sizable Christian minority and followers of other religions.
“Whatever the motive, this act is not justified by any religion because it harms not only one person but also others,” said Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs, in a statement.
Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, called the attack a “cruel incident” as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.
Indonesia’s deadliest attack took place on the tourist island of Bali in 2002, when bombers killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.
In the following years, the Indonesian security forces achieved significant successes in combating armed groups, but more recently there has been an upsurge in violence.