MAKASSAR, Indonesia — Two attackers believed to be members of a militant community that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group blew themselves up outdoors a packed Roman Catholic cathedral throughout a Palm Sunday Mass on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, wounding a minimum of 20 folks, police stated.
Rev. Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest on the Sacred Coronary heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, stated he had simply completed celebrating Palm Sunday Mass when a loud bang shocked his congregation. He stated the blast went off at about 10:30 a.m. as a primary batch of churchgoers was strolling out of the church and one other group was coming in.
He stated safety guards on the church had been suspicious of two males on a motorbike who needed to enter the constructing and after they went to confront them, one of many males detonated his explosives.
Police later stated each attackers had been killed immediately and proof collected on the scene indicated one of many two was a lady. The wounded included 4 guards and a number of other churchgoers, police stated.
Nationwide Police Chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo instructed reporters when he visited the crime scene late Sunday that the 2 attackers are believed to have been members of the militant group Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State group and was chargeable for lethal suicide bombings on Indonesian church buildings in 2018.
He stated one of many attackers was believed to have hyperlinks to a church bombing in the Philippines.
The assault per week earlier than Easter in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation got here because the nation was on excessive alert following December’s arrest of the chief of the Southeast Asian militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been designated a terror group by many countries.
Indonesia has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 folks, principally international vacationers. Assaults geared toward foreigners have been largely changed in latest years by smaller, much less lethal strikes focusing on the federal government, police and anti-terrorism forces and folks militants take into account as infidels.
Police have recognized certainly one of Sunday’s attackers solely by his preliminary, L, who they imagine was linked to a 2019 suicide assault that killed 23 folks at Our Woman of Mount Carmel Cathedral in the Philippine province of Sulu, Prabowo stated.
He stated the 2 attackers had been linked to a bunch of suspected militants arrested in Makassar on Jan. 6, when a police counterterrorism squad shot and killed two suspected militants and arrested 19 others. Members of the squad had been initially presupposed to arrest the 2 slain males for his or her alleged position in the Philippine suicide bombing.
He stated on Sunday police arrested 4 suspected militants believed to have hyperlinks with the attackers in a raid in Bima, a metropolis on Sumbawa island in East Nusa Tenggara province.
“We’re nonetheless looking different members of the group and I’ve ordered the Densus 88 to pursue their motion,” Prabowo stated, referring to Indonesia’s elite police counterterrorism squad.
Indonesia’s final main assault was in Might 2018, when two households carried out a sequence of suicide bombings on church buildings in the town of Surabaya, killing a dozen folks together with two younger ladies whose dad and mom had concerned them in one of many assaults. Police stated the daddy was the chief of an area affiliate of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.
President Joko Widodo condemned Sunday’s assault and stated it has nothing to do with any faith as all religions wouldn’t tolerate any form of terrorism.
“I name on folks to stay calm whereas worshipping as a result of the state ensures you may worship with out worry,” Widodo stated in a televised tackle.
He provided his prayers to these injured and stated the federal government would cowl all prices of medical therapy. He stated he had ordered the nationwide police chief to crack down on any militant community which may be concerned.
On the finish of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which opened Holy Week ceremonies on the Vatican, Pope Francis invited prayers for the victims of violence. He cited in specific “these of the assault that occurred this morning in Indonesia, in entrance of the Cathedral of Makassar.’’
A video of the scene of the assault obtained by The Related Press confirmed physique components scattered close to a burning bike on the gates of the church.
At the least 20 folks had been wounded in the assault and had been admitted to hospitals for therapy, stated Mohammad Mahfud, the coordinating minister for political, authorized and safety affairs.
Indonesia has been on excessive alert since police in December arrested Jemaah Islamiyah chief Aris Sumarsono, often known as Zulkarnaen. Over the previous month the nation’s counterterrorism squad has arrested about 64 suspects, together with 19 in Makassar, following a tipoff about potential assaults towards police and locations of worship.
Jemaah Islamiyah was as soon as thought-about the preeminent terror community in Southeast Asia, however has been weakened over the previous decade by a sustained crackdown. Lately, nevertheless, a brand new risk has emerged in militants who fought with the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and returned to Indonesia or these impressed by the group’s assaults overseas.