Family of six behind wave of blasts targeting three churches in Indonesia

Family of six behind wave of blasts targeting three churches in Indonesia

In a coordinated attack, the bombers, including two veiled women with a young girl, drove up to the churches Surabaya, Indonesia's second biggest city, on motorcycles.

The two daughters were aged 12 and nine while the other two, thought to be the man's sons, were 18 and 16, police said.

The father then drove the van to the Pentecost Central Church, where, from inside the vehicle, he detonated another bomb in front of the church.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo visited the sites and described the attacks as "cowardly actions" that were "very barbaric and beyond the limit of humanity".

"I was frightened...many people were screaming", 23-year-old witness Roman told AFP after the blast at Santa Maria church.

East Java Police, which also declared 1 alert status in its jurisdiction, called on all churches to cancel services in Surabaya until the situation has been declared safe. A day later, the group's news agency, Amaq, released a cellphone video of the attacker pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and calling on fellow Islamic State supporters in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere too carry out attacks. The bombings were the worst since a series of attacks on churches on Christmas Eve in 2000 killed 15 people and wounded almost 100.

Images from one scene showed a body lying outside the gate of Santa Maria Catholic Church and members of Indonesia's bomb squad poring over the rubble.

Witnesses said the two women entered the area surrounding the church.

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The US Embassy in Jakarta condemned the assaults.

Indonesia's national police chief said the suicide bombers were members of one family, including children and teens.

It is reported BBC with reference to the head of the local police.

"Singaporeans in Surabaya should take the necessary precautions for their personal safety, heed the instructions of the local authorities and closely monitor the local news", MFA said.

The president said he ordered the national police chief to investigate the militant networks responsible for the attacks and to dismantle them at their roots. The network of about two dozen extremist groups has been implicated in a number of attacks in Indonesia over the past year.

Indonesia has long struggled with domestic terrorist groups, particularly the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jemaah Islamiyah, which claimed responsibility for 11 attacks between 2000 and 2010, including the deadly 2002 Bali bombings that left more than 200 people dead and hundreds injured, many of them tourists.

Last week, five counterterrorism police officer and one inmate died in a riot in a high-security prison outside Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. Attacks on churches in 2000 killed 15 people and wounded nearly 100. Jemaah Islamiyah, the network responsible for the Bali attacks, was destroyed by a crackdown from Indonesia's counterterrorism police with US and Australian support.

Christians, many of whom are from the ethnic Chinese minority, make up about 9 percent of Indonesia's 260 million people.

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