Indonesian authorities investigate Palm Sunday bombing of Catholic Church

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Indonesian authorities investigate Palm Sunday bombing of Catholic Church

Experts suggest that the suicide bombers belonged to the radical group Jamaa Ansharut Daula, associated with the Islamic State

Indonesian authorities are investigating an explosion at a Catholic church in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, which injured at least 19 people. The explosion during Mass on Palm (Palm) Sunday was allegedly carried out by two suicide bombers.

Indonesian police spokesman Argo Yuvono told reporters that the suicide bombers were intercepted by guards at the gates of the church complex, after which a bomb exploded.

“We suspect there are two criminals who were riding a motorcycle,” Yuvono said. “According to the original plan, they would have entered the courtyard of this cathedral, where Sunday Mass has just ended.”

Yuwono said the authorities were unable to immediately confirm the number of those killed, and determine whether the body parts scattered on the spot belonged to perpetrators or victims.

“Still under investigation,” he said.

Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Yakut Cholil Kaumas strongly condemned the explosion in a video response sent to the Voice of America Indonesia.

“I call on all religious leaders, no matter what religion they belong to, to repeat to their followers that no religion justifies terrorism,” Kaumas said. – Religion always teaches us love, peace, love for each other. The monstrous act that we have witnessed today is not the behavior of religious communities. ”

He urged people not to be afraid of such terrorist attacks.

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“Fear will destroy our social cohesion,” Kaumas said.

An expert on terrorism at the University of Indonesia, Stanislaus Riyanta, in an interview with the Voice of America Indonesian service, suggested that the criminals belonged to the radical group Jamaa Ansharut Daula, associated with the Islamic State. There are similarities between the Sunday bombing and the bombings at a church in Surabaya in 2018, which killed more than 30 people, and at the police building in Medan in 2019, he said.

“Since the law enforcement agencies are extremely intensively involved in the elimination of terrorist networks in Indonesia, perhaps this action was revenge or resistance, or some form of reaction to the increasing pressure on the group from the special services apparatus,” Riyanta said.

Indonesia has long suffered from violence from Islamic militants and has experienced a series of attacks, including the terrorist attack in Bali in 2002, which killed more than 200 people.