Authorities identified a family of six as the people responsible for deadly bombing attacks at three Indonesian churches that killed at least 13 people and injured dozens of innocent civilians on Sunday.
Local police said that the family’s father, identified as Dita Oepriarto, was the head of a local extremist group known as Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which fully supports the notorious terror group Islamic State (IS), AFP reported via AsiaOne
The first attack occurred on Sunday at around 7:30 a.m. local time. Police said that the two sons, age 16 and 18, rode motorcycles into Santa Maria Catholic Church and detonated the bombs they were carrying.
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Oepriarto then dropped his wife, Puji Kuswati, and their two daughters, age 9 and 12, at the Diponegoro Indonesian Christian Church. The woman and her daughters, who were all wearing niqab face veils and had bombs strapped to their waist, reportedly forced their way inside the church while carrying two bags and ignored security.
“Suddenly, she hugged a civilian, then [the bomb] exploded,”
an eyewitness named Antonius said, according to BBC
. The second attack reportedly happened five minutes after the first.
The father drove his bomb-laden car into the grounds of Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church.
Police discovered the family was among the hundreds of Indonesians who flew to Syria to aid IS in their fight against government forces. They had just returned to Indonesia before they conducted the series of attacks.
The Islamic State terrorist group took responsibility moments after the horrific bombings, which left 13 people dead and at least 40 people injured.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited one of the churches hit by the coordinated bombings, described the incident as “barbaric.” He also ordered police to “look into and break up networks of perpetrators.”
Later on Sunday night, another bomb was set off in an apartment complex in Surabaya. Three people, confirmed to be the suspects behind the attack, were killed. It is unclear if this attack is related to the bombings at the three churches.
Featured Images (left, right) Screenshot via YouTube / Straits Times
| (middle) Indonesia Police via AsiaOne