Bomb attacks occur at three Surabaya churches

Sergio Conner
May 13, 2018

Police say a suicide bomber caused the explosion at one of the churches.

Churches have also been targeted previously, including near-simultaneous attacks on churches there at Christmas in 2000 that killed about 20 people.

This is a developing story.

The attacks come several days after five Indonesian police officers and an inmate were killed in clashes at a high-security jail on the outskirts of Jakarta.

The explosion in front of Santa Maria Tak Bercela Church has killed two persons and injured 13 others.

"We have confirmed one died at the scene, one died at the hospital, two police officers were injured and there are some civilians injured", Mangera said.

The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for that incident although police rejected its involvement.

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Police said three churches were hit by suicide bombers in Indonesia's second-biggest city, located in the eastern part of the island of Java.

Other images showed a vehicle engulfed in flames and plumes of thick black smoke as a body lay outside the gate of Santa Maria Catholic church, with motorcycles toppled over amid the debris. There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but religious violence and tensions have been rising throughout this predominantly Muslim country.

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

An official of the country's intelligence agency told the media that the explosions were coordinated terror attacks by the organization.

"PGI is concerned because this had happened many times and often taken place around the time of Sunday services", said Jeirry Sumampow, a spokesman for the Indonesia's Communion of Churches.

Extremists have mounted a series of attacks against Christians and other minorities in recent years.

The U.S. blames JAD for a suicide bombing and gun attack in Jakarta in January 2016 that left four people dead and 25 injured.

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