On Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, two people believed to be members of ISIS injured over a dozen people in Indonesia in suicide bombing attacks.
According to The Christian Post, the two suspects blew themselves up outside of a Catholic Church in Makassar city in the South Sulawesi province around 10.30 a.m. Sunday while the church was in between services.
Both suspects, one of which was a woman, were the only fatalities in the attack. Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured from the blast and taken to hospitals for treatment.
Indonesian police noted that among those injured were churchgoers and four security guards.
Father Wilhelmus Tulak, a priest at the church, told Indonesian media that a security guard had dealt with one of the perpetrators who attempted to get into the church between its second and third mass.
“The third round was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and we heard the explosion before [the mass] began,” Wilhelmus told Beritasatu TV.
While the explosion happened outside the church, it shattered glass, injuring churchgoers within the cathedral.
National Police Chief Gen. Listyo Sigit Prabowo told media outlets that both bombers are believed to be members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), an umbrella organization formed in 2015 for almost two dozen extremists that pledged allegiance to the then Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
According to the United Nations Security Council, the JAD was listed last year as being linked to ISIS for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of Al-Qaeda, ISIL, or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof.”
In 2018, JAD attacked three churches in the Indonesian city of Surabaya, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens more. The group also killed three police officers following two suicide bombings in 2017 in East Jakarta.
Following Sunday’s attack, one pastor told International Christian Concern that police urged churches in Indonesia to remain vigilant. Police have also increased security and churches across the nation.
According to persecution watchdog Open Doors USA, Indonesia is ranked number 47 on its list of countries where Christians face persecution.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Douglas Sacha
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.