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Suicide bomb hits Palm Sunday Mass in Indonesia leaving 20 wounded

Two individuals on a motorbike blew themselves up as safety guards exterior the church confronted them.

Two attackers blew themselves up exterior a packed Roman Catholic cathedral throughout a Palm Sunday Mass on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, wounding at the very least 20 folks, police mentioned.

A video obtained by The Associated Press confirmed physique elements scattered close to a burning bike on the gates of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province.

Rev. Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest on the church, mentioned he had simply completed celebrating Palm Sunday Mass when a loud bang shocked his congregation. He mentioned the blast went off at about 10:30 a.m. as a primary batch of churchgoers was strolling out of the church and one other group was coming in.

He mentioned safety guards on the church had been suspicious of two males on a motorbike who needed to enter the constructing and once they went to confront them, one of many males detonated his explosives.

Police later mentioned each attackers had been killed immediately and proof collected on the scene indicated one of many two was a lady. The wounded included 4 guards and several other churchgoers, police mentioned.

The assault, every week earlier than Easter in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, got here because the nation was on excessive alert following December’s arrest of the chief of the (*20*) Asian militant group, Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been designated a terror group by many countries.

Indonesia has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 folks, principally international vacationers. Attacks aimed toward foreigners have been largely changed in current years by smaller, much less lethal strikes concentrating on the federal government, police and anti-terrorism forces and other people militants contemplate as infidels.

President Joko Widodo condemned Sunday’s assault and mentioned it has nothing to do with any faith as all religions wouldn’t tolerate any sort of terrorism.

“I call on people to remain calm while worshipping because the state guarantees you can worship without fear,” Mr. Widodo mentioned in a televised handle.

He provided his prayers to these injured and mentioned the federal government would cowl all prices of medical therapy. He mentioned he had ordered the nationwide police chief to research the assault and crack down on any militant community which may be concerned.

Pope’s help

At the top of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, which opened Holy Week ceremonies on the Vatican, Pope Francis invited prayers for the victims of violence. He cited in specific “those of the attack that took place this morning in Indonesia, in front of the Cathedral of Makassar.’’

At least 20 people were wounded in the attack and had been admitted to hospitals for treatment, said Mohammad Mahfud, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs.

“The perpetrators or terrorist groups behind this attack will continue to be pursued,” Mr. Mahfud mentioned.

Indonesia’s National Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono mentioned police had been nonetheless attempting to establish the 2 attackers on the bike and whether or not they had been linked to an area affiliate of the banned Jemaah Islamiyah community or had been performing independently.

Indonesian forces in December arrested the group’s chief Aris Sumarsono, often known as Zulkarnaen. Over the previous month, the nation’s counter-terrorism squad has arrested about 64 suspects, together with 19 in Makassar, following a tipoff about potential assaults towards police and locations of worship.

While Jemaah Islamiyah has been weakened over the previous decade by a sustained crackdown, in current years a brand new risk has emerged in militants who fought with the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and returned to Indonesia or these impressed by the group’s assaults overseas.

Indonesia’s final main assault was in May 2018, when two households carried out a collection of suicide bombings on church buildings in the second-largest metropolis of Surabaya, killing a dozen folks together with two younger women whose dad and mom had concerned them in one of many assaults. Police mentioned the daddy was the chief of an area affiliate of the Islamic State group often called Jemaah Anshorut Daulah.

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