Suicide Bombers Target Three Churches in Indonesia, Killing at Least 10

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(CNN) — Suicide bombers attacked three Christian churches in Muslim-majority Indonesia on Sunday morning, killing at least 10 people and injuring dozens more, police say.

ISIS’s media wing claimed responsibility for the attacks, which took place in Surabaya, a port city on the east coast of Java Island.

In a statement published online, ISIS’s Amaq News Agency said at least 11 people were killed and 41 injured, describing them as “martyrdom attacks.”

The group has not provided any proof to substantiate the claim, nor have any authorities or security sources yet verified its authenticity.

Forty-one people — including two police officers — were hospitalized with injuries, police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.

Sunday’s explosions targeted the Santa Maria Catholic Church, the Indonesian Christian Church and the Pentecost Central Church. The Catholic explosion killed four people and two people were killed at each of the other two churches, the spokesman said. Two people later died at a hospital.

The Catholic church blast was the first one, and occurred at 7.30 a.m. local time Sunday (8.30 p.m. Saturday ET), before blasts at 7.35 a.m. and 8 a.m., state-run news agency Antara quoted him as saying.

Police have closed off all three locations as they investigate.

Pope prays for victims

The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, prayed for the victims of the attacks during his weekly Sunday audience in St Peter’s Square.

Saying that he was particularly close to the population of Indonesia, he said: “Together we invoke the God of peace to cease these violent actions, and in the heart of all find space not for hatred and violence but for reconciliation and fraternity.”

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi tweeted her condolences to the bombing victims with the hashtags #UnitedAgainstTerrorism and #WeAreNotAfraid.

The US Embassy in Jakarta issued a statement condemning the Surabaya attacks.

“These attacks on peaceful worshipers are an affront to the tolerance and diversity embraced by Indonesians. The United States stands with the people of Indonesia, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” the statement read.

Terror attacks

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country with more than 82% of its roughly 260,500,000 people following Islam. Around 10% of the population is Christian.

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, which left more than 200 people dead and hundreds injured, many of them tourists.

In recent years the Asian nation has been fighting against radical extremism as ISIS attempts to recruit members within the country.

Last May, two suicide bombers attacked a bus station in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, killing at least three police officers and wounding six officers and five civilians, with authorities suspecting ISIS involvement.

In 2016, ISIS said it carried out a suicide bombing and shooting near a Starbucks in Jakarta. Two people were killed, and 24 were wounded.

It was the first major attack in Jakarta since Jemaah Islamiyah’s 2009 simultaneous attacks on the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels, which left seven people dead.

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