Two families carry out suicide attacks in Indonesia: police - Taipei Times
Tue, May 15, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Two families carry out suicide attacks in Indonesia: police

MILITANCY:Yesterday’s attack on a police station and Sunday’s bombing of three churches have raised fears of the Islamic State’s growing influence

AFP, SURABAYA, Indonesia

Police secure the area following a bomb blast at a police headquarters in Surabaya, Indonesia, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

A family of five, including a child, yesterday carried out the suicide bombing of a police headquarters in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, police said, a day after a deadly wave of attacks on churches staged by another family.

The spate of bombings has rocked Indonesia, with the Islamic State group claiming the church attacks and raising fears about its influence in Southeast Asia as its dreams of a Middle Eastern caliphate fade.

Indonesia, which is set to host the Asian Games in just three months, has long struggled with Islamic militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people — including Taiwanese Eve Kuo (郭惠敏) — in the nation’s worst-ever terror attack.

Security forces have arrested hundreds of militants during a sustained crackdown that smashed some networks, and most recent attacks have been low-level and targeted domestic security forces.

However, that changed on Sunday as a family of six — including girls aged nine and 12 — staged suicide bombings of three churches during morning services in Surabaya, killing 18, including the bombers.

Yesterday members of another family blew themselves up at a police station in the city, wounding 10.

“There were five people on two motorbikes. One of them was a little kid,” Indonesian Police Chief Tito Karnavian said. “This is one family.”

An eight-year-old girl from the family survived the attack and was taken to hospital, while her mother, father and two brothers died in the blast, he said.

The children were likely led to their deaths without a full awareness of their fate, said Ade Banani, of the University of Indonesia’s research center of police science and terrorism studies.

If a family believed in traditional roles, the father “has the power, so everyone has to obey,” Banani said. “The children probably don’t know what’s going on or don’t understand.”

The father of the church suicide bombers was a local leader in extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which supports the Islamic State group, and the second family was also linked to JAD.

“It ordered and gave instructions for its cells to make a move,” Karnavian said of the Islamic State’s role in the church attacks.

He added that the bombings might have also been motivated by the arrest of JAD leaders, including Aman Abdurrahman, and were linked to a deadly prison riot staged by Muslim prisoners at a high-security jail near Jakarta last week.

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

Despite their apparent allegiance to the Islamic State group, the church-bombing family were not returnees from Syria, police said yesterday, correcting their earlier statements.

However, hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside the militant group there.

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