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Suicide bomber hits packed Indonesian church

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Hembo, Sep 26, 2011.

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  1. Hembo


    Feb 1, 2011
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    Suicide bomber hits packed Indonesian church
    Updated September 26, 2011 04:38:01

    A suicide bomber has attacked a packed Indonesian church, wounding at least 27 people, some critically, and sending terrified worshippers rushing out into the streets in panic.

    The morning bombing in the city of Solo, in Central Java, is the latest in a spate of attacks on minority religious groups in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

    Solo, a city of 500,000, is the home of militant Islamist spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir, who was jailed in June for 15 years for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and political leaders.

    Kristanto, a worshipper, says he and his wife were getting ready to leave at the end of the service at the Bethel Injil Church when the bomb rocked the building.

    "I was about to head home when a very loud explosion shocked me. A crowd of people from inside the church rushed to the streets," the 53-year-old said.

    "They were screaming and very hysterical. The peaceful Sunday has quickly become a chaotic situation.

    "I helped several people who were injured and lying weak on the ground."

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the bomber was part of a network based in Cirebon, 300 kilometres east of Jakarta, where in April a suicide bomber attacked a police mosque, killing only himself and wounding 30 with a bomb of nails, nuts and bolts.

    A doctor at Minulyo Hospital in Solo, who has requested anonymity, says nails and bolts caused injuries to the three victims he was treating.

    The bomber was inside the church with worshippers when he got up and detonated the bomb on his way out.

    "We are still trying to identify him," said national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam. He confirmed that only the attacker had died.

    A correspondent saw the bomber's body on the ground at the church's main entrance. He was wearing a white shirt and black trousers.

    Most of Indonesia's 200 million Muslims are moderates, but the country has struggled to deal with numerous attacks by radical extremists, like the Al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which carried out the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

    The April mosque attack in Cirebon revealed that while large networks such as JI had weakened, smaller terrorist cells that are harder to track were operating in scattered parts of the archipelago.

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