Suicide Bomb Attacks On Three Churches In Indonesia, At Least 13 Dead

At least 13 people have died following suspected IS-inspired suicide bomb attacks on three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya.

What you need to know
  • Suicide bombers attacked three churches across the Indonesian city of Surabaya
  • At least nine people are dead and 40 more are in hospital
  • Indonesia’s intelligence agency suspects Islamic State-inspired group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah is behind the attacks

Suicide bombers who attacked three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya, killing at least 13 people and wounding 40 others, were members of the same family, security officials say.

Indonesia Police told media the attacks were carried out by members of the same family, Indonesia's police chief Tito Karnavian said on Sunday.

Many victims were still to be identified.

The police bomb squad unit examined the Immaculate Santa Maria Catholic Church after it was attacked. Image: Reuters

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said explosions took place in three churches and at least 40 people had been taken to hospital.

At St Mary's catholic church, one of the first locations attacked, the bombing occured while the church was preparing to hold a service after finishing another.

Inspector general Machfud Arifin told CNN Indonesia the attacks were carried out using a motorbike at St Mary’s church and a car at another.

Television footage showed the yard in front of one church engulfed in flames while thick, black smoke billowed upwards.

Police ordered the temporary closure of all churches in Surabaya, and a large food festival in the city was cancelled.

No immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks

While no group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack,  the communication director at Indonesia’s intelligence agency, Wawan Purwanto, said Islamic State-inspired group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) was believed to be behind the bombings.

JAD is an umbrella organisation on a US State Department terrorist list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathisers in Indonesia.

At least 40 people have been transported to hospital following the attacks. Image: Reuters

The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

Purwanto said the the church attacks were likely linked to the prison hostage standoff.

“The main target is still security authorities, but we can say that there are alternative (targets) if the main targets are blocked,” he said.

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, has seen a resurgence in homegrown militancy inspired in part by Islamic State.

With Reuters