Sunday 27 May 2018

Second family uses children to launch suicide bomb attack

Police aim their guns at a man who was being searched by other
police officers following the explosion in Surabaya yesterday. Photo: Antara Foto/ Didik Suhartono / via REUTERS
Police aim their guns at a man who was being searched by other police officers following the explosion in Surabaya yesterday. Photo: Antara Foto/ Didik Suhartono / via REUTERS

Nicola Smith

A second family of suicide bombers has struck the Indonesian city of Surabaya a day after a couple and their four children attacked three churches, killing 14 people.

Harrowing footage caught on a CCTV camera shows the moment the bomb was detonated as two scooters carrying a family of five approached a checkpoint at the entrance to the city's police headquarters at 8.50am, flattening officers and damaging a car.

The police said an eight-year-old girl from the family survived, while her mother, father and two brothers died. Ten others were reportedly injured.

The blast appeared to be a copycat of a series of devastating bombings at three churches on Sunday morning, in which a mother and father used their young children as cover to murder worshippers.

The mother Puji Kuswati (42) tried to force her way into the Indonesia Christian Church with her two daughters, aged 12 and nine, and triggered an explosive when she was stopped by security.

The father, Dita Oepriarto, (45) drove a car bomb at another church target, while his two teenage sons, 18 and 16, rode an explosives-laden motorbike into a crowd outside a third place of worship. All six family members died.

In a separate incident on Sunday, a man acquainted with Dita detonated an explosive as police closed in on his apartment, killing his wife and one of his children and injuring another three.

The serial bombings have revived fears about radicalisation in the world's most populous Muslim nation and of possible attempts by Isil to spread its influence in Southeast Asia after the crushing of its fledgling caliphate in the Middle East.

Hundreds of Indonesians have flocked to Syria and Iraq in recent years to join Isil forces, raising fears they could regroup when they return home.

The police corrected their initial claims that the family had returned from Isil-controlled Syria but said the father was a local leader of the extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which supports Isil.

The terrorist group immediately claimed responsibility although there is no evidence they co-ordinated the attack from outside the country.

"Three martyrdom attacks killed 11 and wounded at least 41 among church guards and Christians," it said via the Telegram messaging app on Sunday before the death toll rose.

Police said the church attacks may have been motivated by the arrest of JAD leadership, including jailed radical Aman Abdurrahman, and were linked to a deadly prison riot staged by Islamist prisoners at a high security jail near the capital, Jakarta, last week.

Abdurrahman has been connected to several deadly incidents, including a 2016 gun and suicide attack in Jakarta that left four civilians and four terrorists dead.

The co-ordinated nature of the church bombings and subsequent blasts point to sophisticated planning, analysts said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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