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Suicide bomber targets Indonesian church; 28 injured

Country/Region: South and East Asia, Indonesia

A suicide bombing at a church in Indonesia injured 28 people as they were leaving the building after a service.

Church-bells-4X3.jpg
Solo, Central Java,
where the attack took place
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Dillan K

The bomber detonated the explosive at the Bethel Injil Sepuluh church in Keputon, Solo, Central Java, on Sunday (25 September). A worshipper said that the attacker was disguised as a churchgoer.

Another said:

Everyone was screaming. I saw fiery sparks and, near the entrance, a man dead on the ground... People around him were splattered with blood.

The one fatality from the incident is believed to be the bomber. The blast, which damaged parts of the church building, was heard as far as 500 metres away.

A number of terrorist groups are based in Solo, and it is not yet known who was behind this attack. International Crisis Group analyst Sidney Jones said that in addition to members of terrorist cells, numerous individuals in the area may sympathise with fundamentalist aims and carry out attacks on their own.

It has been suggested that the bombing was a response to clashes between Muslims and Christians in Ambon earlier this month; seven people were killed, scores more injured and homes and vehicles torched. The violence was sparked by false rumours, circulated by text message to Muslims in the area, that Christians had killed a Muslim motorcycle taxi driver; police said he died after losing control of his vehicle and crashing.

Islamist groups intent on eliminating Christianity from Indonesia and bringing the whole country under the rule of sharia law have been waging an aggressive and often violent campaign against Christians over recent years. Churches frequently come under attack; many have been destroyed in acts of vandalism and/or arson, while others have been forced to close through intimidation tactics and by Islamist pressure on the authorities.

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