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szdaily -> World -> 
19 injured, 2 bombers killed in Indonesia blast
    2021-03-29  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

TWO suicide bombers, one man and a woman, were killed in a blast outside a cathedral church in Indonesia yesterday, spokesman of Provincial Police Office Senior Commissioner E. Zulpan told local media.

The number of injured people from the blast rose to 19. The explosion happened at the cathedral church complex in South Sulawesi’s Makassar city, when the church was about to start the third mass congregation.

The incident occurred when Christians in Indonesia were celebrating Palm Sunday, a Christian feast that falls on the Sunday ahead of Easter.

Churches have been targeted by extremists in Indonesia.

The attack came as Indonesia was on high alert following the arrest of Aris Sumarsono, known as Zulkarnaen, the leader of Jemmaah Islamiyah in December.

Wilhelmus Tulak, a Catholic priest who led the Mass when the bomb exploded at about 10:30 a.m., told reporters that a loud bang shocked his congregation who had just finished the Sunday service marking the beginning of the Holy Week before Easter.

The first batch of churchgoers was walking out of the church while another group was coming in when the blast happened, he said.

He said that security guards suspected two motorists who wanted to enter the church. One of them detonated his explosives and died near the gate after being confronted by guards. The wounded included four guards and several churchgoers.

National Police spokesperson Argo Yuwono told a news conference in the capital, Jakarta, that police were still trying to identify two attackers on a motorbike who used powerful explosives.

He said that police were investigating whether they were linked to a local affiliate of the banned Jemaah Islamiyah network or were acting independently.

About 64 suspects had been detained by Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad, known as Densus 88, in several provinces, including 19 last month in Makassar. The arrests followed a tipoff about possible attacks against police and places of worship.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, has been battling militants since bombings on the resort island of Bali in 2002 killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Attacks aimed at foreigners have been largely replaced in recent years by smaller, less deadly strikes targeting the government, police and anti-terrorism forces and people militants consider as infidels.

The country’s last major attack was in May 2018, when two families carried out suicide bombings in the second-largest city of Surabaya, killing a dozen people.(SD-Xinhua)

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