2018-05-14 09:43:25 UTC
Authorities in Indonesia on Monday said that a family-including children-
carried out a suicide attack on a police headquarters in the country's
second-largest city, a day after members of another family launched
coordinated suicide bombings on three city churches that killed at least
A girl about eight years old was with two of the attackers on a motorcycle
and survived being thrown by the blast at Surabaya's police headquarters,
Tito Karnavian, the national police chief, said.
The attack killed four perpetrators. Six civilians and four officers were
wounded. The attacks have been aimed at the country's Christian minority.
The attack on the police station occurred just hours after police said the
other family carried out the church bombings, which included girls aged nine
and 12. In one of the attack, the children wore bombs around their waists,
The attacks have raised concerns that previously beaten down militant
networks in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation have been
reinvigorated by the return of some of the estimated 1,100 Indonesians who
went to fight with the Islamic State group in Syria.
Experts have warned for several years that when those fighter return, they
could pose a significant threat.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the church bombings in a statement carried
by its Aamaq news agency. Karnavian, however, said earlier police comments
that the family had spent time in Syria were incorrect.
He said the church bombers and the police headquarters attackers were
friends, as were another family whose homemade bombs exploded in their
apartment Sunday night.
The use of children in the attacks has been particularly horrifying to
people. Indonesia's president Joko "Jokowi" Widodo condemned them as
"barbaric" and vowed that authorities would root out and "destroy" Islamic
Security camera footage of the attack on Surabaya's police headquarters
showed at least one explosion after the four attackers rode two motorcycles
up to a security checkpoint. The motorcycles, which moved closely together,
pulled up alongside a car and four officers manning opposite sides of the
"The killing of five police officers is seen by these terror cells as an
invitation for them to do the same," Al Chaidar, a terrorism analyst from
Malikussaleh University, told The Wall Street Journal.
Two men, apparently civilians, were walking into the area just meters from
the motorcycles at the moment of the explosion, which a split second later
was followed by a second possible blast.