Indonesia links church attacks to local ISIL-inspired group

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At least 35 people were wounded in attacks on three churches in Surabaya, East Java [Didik Suhartono/Reuters]
At least 35 people were wounded in attacks on three churches in Surabaya, East Java [Didik Suhartono/Reuters]

At least nine people have been killed and 38 others wounded in explosions at three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, local police say.

A spokesperson for the country’s intelligence agency said Sunday’s bombings were suspected to have be carried out by the ISIL-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

Wawan Purwanto, communication director at the agency, also told Metro TV that the attacks were likely to be linked to a deadly prison hostage incident at a jail near Jakarta involving suspected members of the group last week.

Asked who he thought were the brains behind the attacks, Purwano said: “Still the old group, JAD, who has planned this for sometime.”

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen, reporting from Jakarta, said it was the first time in a decade that a coordinated attack of this size occurred in Indonesia.

“It’s quite a chaotic situation. There was a huge fire in front of one of the churches. Graphic images are coming from there with lots of people wounded. Lots of damage has been done.

“Children are believed to be among the dead.”

All churches in Surabaya have been ordered to evacuate and there are no more services allowed to be held in the next days, our correspondent said.

“The situation is tense because there are concerns that more attacks could happen,” Vaessen said.

“These attacks come as shock to the country, as people thought police had taken control over this armed group that had been active ten or fifteen years ago, causing quite a lot of damage,” she added.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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